Gaudete Sunday

Homily Series: Advent

We must rejoice, despite our circumstances.

The readings today encourage us to rejoice, because the Lord is close to us, indeed, in us. Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit. We must rejoice, despite our circumstances. This is Gaudete Sunday, Rejoice Sunday! The signs of that happiness are peace, joy and love. Love is the reason for our joy – the joy that we should have in all circumstances. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul exhorts us to “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances.” In every circumstance the Lord is inviting us to give thanks. We don’t know what may ensue from our pain. The Lord can bring good out of anything, because he is good. He gives us grace in every moment, not to grumble but give thanks.

We deserve death for our sins, but the Lord has paid that price for us by dying in our place. We have nothing to fear. Whatever happens to us, he is with us.

Fr. Steve talks about the fact that many people come to confession downcast and desperate. But we should not be discouraged, because the Lord is near and wants to show us his love and mercy. “He will rejoice over you in gladness.” It is his love that allows us to be at peace no matter what comes. He rejoices over us; he takes joy in us. Is it possible? Yes, for each and every one of us! The hurdle in the spiritual life is letting him love us, not trying to be good on our own.

In his post-communion comments Fr. Steve reminds us that the phrase, “God loves you,” is for each one of us personally. We may not understand how that is lived out in the midst of our suffering, but we trust him and we trust that he loves us and that he is at work for our good in everything.

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