December 16, 2018: Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent

by Sr Theresa Maly ND

The readings for our Sunday Liturgy this week remind us to “Shout for joy” and “Rejoice always” It is easy to rejoice in preparing to celebrate a birthday, especially that of Jesus. But there is more. We look at the world around us: the unrest, the wars, poverty, hunger, utter lack of respect and care for the many, especially those who are of a different race, religion, skin color, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or from the ‘wrong’ country. Rejoice? Really?

Perhaps the most wonderful thing about Christmas is that we celebrate the Incarnation, not just the Nativity which was a one-time event. The Incarnation, Emmanuel, God with us, is for always. Truly a reason to “Shout for Joy”.

I remember hearing about a small boy wandering around alone amid the rubble of a tornado that had destroyed much of the area. An adult watching for a moment asked him, “Do you have a home?” His immediate response was, “Oh yes, we have a home. We just don’t have a house to put it in.”

Quite an unfortunate situation, yet this young lad had what was really important…loving family relationships. We hear immigrants, fleeing violence in their countries, speak of their families in a way that it is not difficult to recognize that those family bonds, nourished by a deep faith in God, sustain them. In our daily lives we meet and may seek out those who are hurting and lonely. Cannot a simple expression of loving concern be a moment of mutual encouragement and joy!

As Advent continues, we seek ways to alleviate the sufferings of others, both near and far. We also allow ourselves to enter more deeply into the awareness of our relationships, always within the Holy Mystery of Emmanuel, God with us. Let us “Shout for joy”.