Third Sunday of Advent

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

Traditionally the Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday. St. Paul, through his letter to the Philippians, invites us to rejoice as he says: “Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! (Phil 4:4).) The reason for rejoicing is the nearness of the coming of the Lord. But how are we to rejoice in the midst of such a hectic life at this time of the year? To find an answer to this I invite you to reflect on the lives of Joseph and Mary and what they did before the birth of their Son.

We read in Luke (2: 4-5) that following the decree of Caesar Augustus, “Joseph went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.”

Mary was nine months pregnant and they had to embark on a very arduous journey of about 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Joseph was knocking on door after door to find a place for his pregnant wife to give birth to the Son of God. But they didn’t find any place, and the Son of God had to be born in a stable. Think about it – the Son of God was with them literally and still they had to face such a horrible situation in life.

Joseph is still doing what he did before the birth of Jesus: knocking on the doors of our hearts. He is seeking out a place for his Son to dwell within us. When you, being a good Catholic find it hard to understand why God allows problems in your life, think about Mary and Joseph. Christmas is a time to experience the intimate presence of Jesus in our lives. Only when you know that He is with you, will you be able to find peace and rejoice even in the midst of your ill health and problems.

Father Birendra Soreng,