Third Sunday of Advent - Is 61:1-2A, 10-11; 1 Thes 5:16-24; Jn 1:6-8, 19-28

12-17-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.” Such simple words from today’s second reading. And yet it is not always easy to put them into practice. It is difficult to rejoice if we or people we love are hurting. It can be hard to pray when life is pulling us in a thousand different directions. But on this Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of rejoicing, we are asked to focus on a truth that can make both rejoicing and praying easier: Jesus entered humanity in flesh and blood to save us from our sins. This truth means that even if we don’t feel like there is much gladness or joy in our lives today, we can rejoice in the knowledge that we all have the chance to spend eternity in a place where pain, disappointment and suffering will be no more. With our eyes focused on that prize, praying can become a natural part of our days.

Sometimes, I can make everything so complicated. I want to create charts and checklists to ensure that I am doing everything just right. But St. Paul’s words today make me realize that living well is really not that complicated. He writes: “Retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil.” That’s it! Of course, while this is not complicated, it does require us to make prayerful, faithful efforts toward this end – and it is an end for which God has given us his grace, the help of the Church, and the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ. This includes St. Paul, who prays for us, “May the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is what is good in these dark days of Advent: the light of Christ is coming into our world. The Gospel says that John the Baptist testified to this truth – to the light. We can too! Let us continue to pray, to rejoice and to give thanks for God’s gifts, especially the gift of his Son.


Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim

One more light the bowl shall brim,

Shining beyond the frosty weather,

Bright as sun and moon together.

People, look east and sing today:

Love, the star, is on the way.