To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the Third Sunday of Advent: CLICK HERE!
To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the Third Sunday of Advent: CLICK HERE!
Last Sunday at about 11:30 am I received an email from a family of the Parish, the email was not one of STRIFE, rather one of honest inquiry from the kids who had just attend Mass virtually.
The email shared that the kids are hoping I will wear rose vestments next week. Actually one child said PINK, but the other two children corrected him!!!
So here we are: Gaudete Sunday, in rose colored vestments.
Gaudete, rejoice, is a reminder to rejoice, to be happy that the Lord is near, the Lord has come!
But, I think there is much more to Gaudete Sunday.
Just maybe we are being reminded that the joy of 2000 years ago, is meant to be part of our world today, every day, even amidst personal struggles and even a Pandemic…
Where did we see joy this week?
- It was surely in the smile of an infant having it’s picture taken at the mall this week
- It was surely in the smile of the mother of that same child, not only as a proud mother but happy the picture taking was going so well.
- It was surely in the agency workers who received some $5,000 in gift cards to assist those in need and that Joy will come Christmas.
- It was in the virtual visit with a loved one.
- Where did you see joy this week ?
But as Isaiah the Prophet reminds us today, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me;” … “the Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to all people.”
Glad tidings, what does that mean? It means to bring GOOD NEWS…
The Good News that God never abandons us…
The Good News that I, we, care about you not only in words but in personal witness and actions of: Joy, Love, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, and Faithfulness.
This weekend, we are being called to not only REJOICE in the joy of others but to also be a cause of rejoicing, a cause of joy for others by the difference we make for another or others…
So today, tomorrow, this week in the year ahead: How can we, how will we bring a smile to another with our words, expressions, and actions (big and small) that brings people to rejoice, to give thanks that the Lord has come into their lives and our world everyday!
To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the 3rd Sunday of Advent: CLICK HERE!
This week John the Baptism joins us again as a SEEKER. He too was seeking the “Promised One” — “the One who would make ALL things NEW”…
And so, John the Baptist, wanting to know if Jesus was the one, sends some of his followers, to ask Jesus, “Are you the one, or should we look for another?”
And Jesus does not give a direct answer, instead he says to John’s Disciples, “Go tell John what you hear. Tell him what you have seen in the healing of people who were blind, lame, deaf or leprous. Tell John the poor are rejoicing. Tell him, blessed are those who see the hand of God in this!”
Jesus wanted John to realize that his work fulfilled what Isaiah prophesied.
Even in our time, we might be content to say that Jesus is the ONE; but often wonder where Jesus is and where we should look for him.
Again, as Jesus conveyed to John, he also reminds us today, “tell them what you have seen in the healing of people who were blind, lame, deaf or leprous. Tell them the poor are rejoicing. Tell them, blessed are those who see the hand of God in this!”
And where do we SEE the hand of God in all this, not just at Christmas time but every day of the year?
We see it in people:
- Making bag lunches to assist the homeless
- Serving hot meals at a local shelter not only on the holidays, but throughout the year
- Making donations of food and clothing that keeps food pantries and Thrift Shops supplied for those in need
- Those who visit the sick, give rides to doctor’s offices
- Bring Communion to those unable to be with us
- When they share a smile, hug, or note of appreciation for a kindness shared with them no matter how big or small.
Maybe this Christmas season (and throughout the year), like John the Baptist, we need to look for, to see, to recognize those daily moments of God in our midst where people of all ages are caring for people of all ages, each and every day.
May we rejoice with and for those who assist others, those who bring hope, those who allow God to work thru them and each of us, as person, family and Parish.
May we rejoice because the POOR are REJOICING!
To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the 3rd Sunday in Advent: CLICK HERE!
We all know that the Christmas shopping season seems to have gotten longer and longer over the years. What may have been the four shopping weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas has become longer and longer.
It was only this week that I made the connection for such long a shopping season. Seems the powers that be knew that the preparations for Christmas were meant to be forty days. Now most of us don’t remember this, like we may remember the Latin Mass or fasting before midnight before receiving Communion.
These 40 days of Advent and the Advent Fast ended about 1200 years ago. So there is something to REJOICE about this Gaudete Sunday. (Besides the new pew cushions, be happy, be comfortable, the Homily will be no longer than 30 minutes)
In our own lives, we know that being joyful, rejoicing has its’ moments. There are times in our lives when it is easy: the birth of a child, fulfilling work, feeling God’s love and care, being surrounded by family and friends.
And there are other times when the moments of joy are missing: the loss of a loved one, concerns about health, finances, a job, watching the news.
Yet the Church asks us to rejoice, be happy… didn’t Farrell have a song “Be Happy?”
Happy not because Christmas is 9 days away. Happy because the Christ, the Lord, has come and will come again…
Happy because our God-Jesus is always with us in good times and bad.
But, as I have mentioned a few times in the past, it ain’t all about us or me.
John the Baptist today shares with the people of his day, and us, if you want to be happy, if you want to see God working in your life:
- Share what you have especially with those with little or nothing. And it is not just people in another part of the world. It is right here in Clifton Park, the Capital District, the Diocese of Albany and beyond. And you will not only be happy, but so will others…
- Treat Others Fairly. Justice is for all, not some. Hope is for all, not some. Respect is for all, not some. And you will not only be happy, but so will others…
- Be content with what you have… And you will not only be happy, but so will others…
In our Consumeristic world, we want more, because we think it will make us happy. We want the latest, just so we can say we have it. We want more, more and more and more, as people in our world, often don’t even have the basics.
Yes, Christ has come, Christ will come again… But what can, what will, you and I do this week to bring Christ/God into the world… To bring some joy into the life of another: a phone call, a visit, coffee out, a small gift, a plate of cookies…
May we as person, family and Parish continue to bring Christ into the world through our kindness to all people, especially those in need today and tomorrow, and throughout the year.
Just maybe Christmas songs like “Joy to the World, the Savior comes” will become more than notes and words on a sheet of paper we sing for a few weeks.
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 6:1-2, 10-11; Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28
Don’t you love a “Gospel of the Lord” in which the Lord does not utter a single word?
Today’s Gospel centers on John the Baptist who, when asked, “Who are you?” says, he has come to “testify to the Light.” The Light of course being “The Christ, The Savior.” Says John the Baptist, “I am a voice calling people to know the goodness of God, to know the Love of God, to know the Favor of God and so much more.”
John the Baptist knew who he was and who he was not.
Advent calls us to know who we are: Christians, Disciples of Jesus!
And Paul gives us a few characteristic of such a Christian: “Rejoice always, pray always, give thanks always.”
This might sound like a daunting task, but we are also reminded in the Readings today, “Rejoice heartily in the Lord” (Isaiah); and (Paul to the Thessalonians) “The One (God) who calls you is faithful, and He will also accomplish it.”
Every day gives us another opportunity for good, to witness to the Gospel, to bring Gospel Joy to another or others. Because in the end it is not the “Issues of the Day” that are our first concern, rather it is the “the people” whom God would have us see.
Pope Francis urges us to say no to selfishness and spiritual sloth. Spiritual sloth, there’s a phrase that might have us wondering, what is that?
Sloth, is a kind of Spiritual laziness. It means not making it a priority to do what we should, or change what we should in ourselves.
Like John the Baptist, we too are called to “testify to the Light” to “testify to the Joy of the Gospel” each day.
Obviously, there are many ways of “testifying to the Light” as a person, family and parish. We pray that we will continue to do so, with the support of our God who is at work within each of us.
Finally, as an example of testifying to the Light, let me share an email that a parishioner sent me, that is certainly pertinent to this season, it’s entitled: “Holiday To Do List”
Holiday to do list:
- Buy Presents becomes 1. Be Present
- Wrap Gifts becomes 2. Wrap someone in a Hug
- Send Gifts becomes 3. Send Peace
- Shop for Food becomes 4. Donate Food
- Make Cookies becomes 5. Make Love
- See the Lights becomes 6. Be the Light