December 16, 2018

Gaudete

December 16, 2018:  Third Sunday of Advent = Gaudete Sunday

Today's guest dresser:  Mom, 104
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Pope Francis

Angelus:  (For years today, "Bambinelli Sunday," is when Rome children bring Baby Jesus from their Nativity scenes for the pope's blessing.)  Children, when you pray before the manger, looking at the Child Jesus, you'll feel amazement at the mystery of God made flesh; and the Spirit will give you Jesus' humility, tenderness, and goodness.  May this be so for you and for your families.”

Today's liturgy invites us to be joyful. Jerusalem's inhabitants are called to rejoice because the Lord has lifted his condemnation.  God always wants to redeem and save those he loves.  "He will rejoice for you, renew you with his love, exult for you with joy" is appropriate as we prepare for Christmas, because it applies to Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, Source of joy.  Paul exhorts us today not to be anxious but to present our requests, needs, and concerns to God.  We can always turn to the Lord, who never rejects our invocations.  No worry or fear can take away the serenity that comes from knowing God guides our lives lovingly, even in the midst of problems and suffering.  Advent is a season of conversion.  To accept the Lord’s invitation to joy, we need to ask ourselves, “What should I do?”

At Santa Marta Dispensary:  If Mary had lived in Rome, she would have taken Jesus to this dispensary.  Working with children isn't easy, but it teaches us a lot.  To understand life, you have to lower yourself.  We all give many things to children, but they teach us to lower ourselves.  Lower yourself, be humble, and so learn to understand life and people.

  • Zep 3:14-18a  Shout and sing for joy!  The Lord has removed the judgment against you; the King of Israel is in your midst.  It shall be said:  Fear not!  The Lord is in your midst, a mighty savior; he'll rejoice over you and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you.
  • Is 12:2-6  "Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel."  God is my savior, my strength, and my courage.  Make known his deeds, his exalted name...
  • Phil 4:4-7  Rejoice in the Lord!  All should know your kindness; the Lord is near.  Have no anxiety; make your requests to God in prayer with thanksgiving.  Then God's peace will guard you in Christ.
  • Lk 3:10-18  Crowds /  John the Baptist:  “What should we do?” / “If you have cloaks or food, share with the person who has none.” [to tax collectors:]  “Don't collect more than what's prescribed.” [to soldiers:] “Don't extort or falsely accuse, and be satisfied with your wages.”  People were wondering whether John might be the Christ.  John:  “I baptize you with water, but one mightier is coming who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire....”  He preached good news to the people.
Reflect
  • Creighton:  In Luke, Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon, and Anna stress that God is keeping his promises.  In the Old Testament God made promises that had both understandable and deeper meanings:  in the garden, after the flood, to Abraham, through the prophets, including today's 1st reading and canticle.  God eventually gave Israel hope for a Messiah and delivered more than was expected.  Christ restores our lost innocence.  Christmas is a big step in God's promise keeping:  God is with his people in a way beyond how his promises were understood.  Advent is about waiting with hope for a savior, for God's hand, to change a world we can't.  This is why Mary's Magnificat is so joyful: “He has come to the aid of Israel... mindful of His mercy–according to the promise he made....”  Today we rejoice that God's love is coming to light.  If we have faith and hope in God and imitate his love focused beyond self, we'll be light pointing to the Eternal Light.  Be joy, love, and hope for the world....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "When Daddy sings":  The Lord commands us to rejoice in him always.  No matter our problems or feelings, our being "in the Lord" dwarfs everything else.  When we fix our eyes on Jesus, he'll reveal our Father, Source of our joy.  Jesus and the Spirit will show us Abba rejoicing over each of us and renewing us in his love. We'll see that God is singing because of us, his children.  His singing is contagious, especially for his children. In his presence, we break out into song; our joyful songs drown out our sorrows.
  • Passionist:  In today's gospel, the most unlikely people (tax collectors extorting money and soldiers paid to protect them) are asking John what to do to be saved.  John tells them to carry out their responsibilities with concern for others, honesty, and integrity.  Share; don't exploit.  When they ask whether he's the Messiah, he says no.  They're filled with joy in response to God’s goodness.  Today fills us with joy because God is already in our midst....
  • DailyScripture.net:   "He who is mightier than I is coming":  John the Baptist began to prophesy centuries after other prophets; he announced the Messiah was coming.  The people recognized him as a prophet, came to hear him, and submitted to baptism.  John woke people from spiritual sleep and indifference and turned them to God; he wanted them to be ready to follow the Messiah.  Tax collectors and soldiers came to him; Jewish authorities regarded them as unclean and ostracized them, but John welcomed them.  His message of repentance was practical:  share, give everyone their due, and be content with what you have.  He said the Messiah would "baptize with the Spirit and fire."  Fire was associated with God and his action.  God sometimes manifested his presence with fire, and fire symbolized God's glory, protective presence, holiness, justice, and wrath against sin.  John expanded the image by illustrating the separation of wheat from chaff.  The image of fire is used for the Spirit; God's fire purifies us, inspires reverence, and fans our desire for holiness and meeting the Lord.  Jesus can give us the fire of his Spirit so we may radiate joy to those needing God.  God can transform us so we may point others to Christ.  How do I point others to Christ?
Dress legend
  • 'Love' suspenders sticker:  The Lord will renew you in his love (1st reading)

  • 'Crowns' tie: the King of Israel is in your midst (1st reading)
  • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin:  Rejoice! (1st reading, psalm, 2nd reading, Gaudete Sunday)
  • 'Heart' clip:  Exult with all your heart (1st reading); God's peace will guard your hearts (2nd reading); all asked in their hearts whether John was the Messiah (gospel)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  Make the Lord's deeds known among the nations (psalm)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  God's peace will guard your hearts... (2nd reading)
  • '?' tie pin:  “What should we do?” (gospel)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  His winnowing fan is in his hand... (gospel)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  ...to gather the wheat (gospel)
  • Blue tie:  I baptize you with water (gospel)
  • 'Dove' pin:  He'll baptize you with the Spirit... (gospel)
  • 'Fire' pin:  ... and fire; he'll burn the chaff with fire (gospel)
  • Rose-colored shirt:  Liturgical color for Gaudete Sunday
  • Sandals (not shown): I'm not worthy to loosen his sandal strap (gospel)