Thursday, May 19, 2022
“Gaudete in Domino Semper”
“Rejoice in the Lord always”
The Entrance Antiphon for this Third Sunday of Advent begins with the following words: “Gaudete in Domino Semper, which is translated in English: “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Many of us might want to ask this question: Can we always rejoice? When we look at our world so ravaged by war, in Ukraine, in many African nations and in Asia.
Can we look at our world so wounded in many areas by individualism, selfishness, and riddled by drugs, alcohol, all manner of addictions, and say, Rejoice always? When we look at our economy, we see inflation, the increase of the cost of living in United States and other countries, especially in the poorest countries in the world, the rising prices essential commodities such as gasoline, food, drugs etc., and say rejoice always? When we look at our political discourse and debate, we see polarization and division, extremism, lies, etc., and say, Rejoice always? When we look at the Church, we see tension and division between conservative and progressive bishops, those who support Pope Francis agenda and those who disagree with him or even publicly criticize him, how can we pray this when we see the Church suffering so much from her own, so beleaguered by the pride of those who should be her most faithful members? How can we sing this? When we look at our own personal lives and see many things that are not cause for joy, can we say rejoice always? We might rather want to echo the words of John the Baptist in today’s gospel.
When John heard that Jesus was eating and drinking with people, especially with sinners. He had a little doubt about the behavior of the one who should be the Messiah. He dispatched his disciples to Jesus with this question: Are you the one is who is to come or should we look for another one?
Like a patient farmer who was awaiting the precious fruit of the earth, John the Baptist lived with great expectation from the messiah. From the midst of the “hardship and patience” that he suffers in prison for being a prophet “who spoke in the name of the Lord,” John’s heart bears only one question: “Are you the one who is to come?” John’s longing for Christ keeps him full of hope in the midst of suffering. That is why Jesus’ response aligned the works of the Messiah instead the titles of the Messiah as he said to John’s disciples: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” Yes, I am doing the works of the Messiah who came to save us; I revealed that God is with us, the kingdom of God is near. God, our Father is just, compassionate and merciful. By saying that, Jesus reassured John the Baptist and encouraged him to keep being faithful and hopeful in the midst of suffering.
On this Third Sunday of Advent, as we continue our Advent journey, we are invited to “rejoice in the Lord always.” We rejoice not because everything is well, but because we have faith in the One who has conquered the world, darkness and sins. We rejoice because Jesus, God is with us (Emmanuel) is coming in our lives in a new way this Christmas. We rejoice in Jesus who is the resurrection and the life. He is within us. We rejoice in the Lord because of the works of the Church, of Christians, and people of good will who continue to make a difference in the world by caring for the poor, the blind and the sick. We rejoice in the Lord because people like you who continue to support our parish in so many ways. Therefore, we are invited to keep the faith, to hope against all hopes, and witness to charity. We need to continue patiently and faithfully doing goods in the world despite the challenges, difficulties and suffering we might encounter in the world. The Cross is our unique hope (Spes Unica). As Jesus said: If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Jesus died to self, knowing that it was the key to joy. He rejoice in serving others. Christ gave his time on earth to pour out himself for others, down to the last drop of his blood. He did it so that we may have eternal life!
Fr. Jean Jadotte