Shout for Joy
(Zeph 3:14-18; Ps 12:2-6; Phil 4:4-7; Lk 3:10-18)
Today is the third Sunday of Advent celebrated as Gaudete Sunday. It is the day which the Church has given us to rejoice and should for joy. We are doing this because the Redeemer is near at hand. To rejoice or shout for joy has to do with a feeling of deep happiness. It is an interior disposition to be happy always despite the things that happen to us. It means the happiness is not depended on material things or on riches. Neither is it depended on the lack of challenges or problems. But that amidst these things, we are still happy.
When I was growing up, my own life experience and the little experience I gained from life first gave me the impression that happiness could come from riches. I struggled to search for this in vain and discovered that some millionaires and even billionaires where the most unhappy people with some even dying out of frustration. I later thought happiness could be sought from family and friends but it was not true. The pleasures of the world suggested another form of happiness which only gave me momentary pleasure. I was all blind to these things because the more I sought and did the things I thought could give me happiness, the more I felt empty. I eventually got peace of mind and have been really happy when I answered the question: what must I do to enjoy real happiness.
The above question is similar to the one asked to John the Baptist in the gospel of today. After John had preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, this touched so many and they were seeking ways of renouncing their old ways in order to be happy. The tax collector and soldier all asked what to be done to be saved and happy. They were told what to be done.
I must testify that true happiness can only come from seeking Christ. St. Paul in the second reading says he wants us to be happy always in the Lord. This affirms with what the Holy Father did say thay an unhappy Christian is a contradiction in terms because a Christian is supposed to be a bearer of good news. We need to ask ourselves today: with all the search for money, and with all the money i have made, am I happy or more stressed and frustrated?
We need to be happy dear friends. Our happiness comes because God has repealed our sentence, he has driven away our enemies and no need for us to be afraid and he has renewed our love. He is coming to save us. Unfortunately, there are many unhappy people out there. We need to help them to be happy in Christ by being happy ourselves. Alcohol, drugs, women, material things, riches, technological advances, etc cannot make us happy. They are ephemeral. True happiness is in Christ.
May we pray for the graces to renounce all things for the sake of Christ so that we can be truly happy. Rejoice and shout for joy.
- Fr. Rinda