Sunday 13 December
A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’” as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Advent is a time of waiting and penitence. It’s a period of quiet reflection where we prepare for God incarnate to arrive. This year, especially, we’ve been doing a lot of waiting. During Holy Week, nearly every person on the globe took shelter within the walls of their own homes because of a plague reminiscent of Passover. We’ve had time to reflect on what our lives were like before and what they are like now. I imagine it was much like that for Mary, as she waited for the birth of her Savior. She had her life before she said “yes” to God, and she had her life after.
As Catholics, despite a year which has brought so much unknown, and so much suffering, we have hope. Advent teaches us that it is good to hope. On this Gaudete Sunday, we rejoice because we trust in God’s promise despite the waiting.
Joy is infectious. People will catch joy from you, even if you’re wearing a mask and are giving out hand sanitizer instead of a holiday card this year.
Even if you feel like you’re just getting by, offer up your suffering for others. Turn to Mary and take comfort knowing that in her life, she rejoiced, and she lamented. Be a light in whatever way your personality and gifts express joy and show everyone you encounter what a joyful Catholic is.
Our faith teaches us that when our joy seems hard to reach, God gives us a hand. Joy is a gift from the Holy Spirit, and Gaudete Sunday is that hand.
How can you sense someone’s joy despite the facemask? Can others sense your joy?