In a way, it is we who have to make the Gospels meaningful, because their meaning is not meant to be contained in the covers of a book, however well read. The Scriptures function fully as a revelation when we reveal the love of Christ in what we say and do. The Bible, without readers who love, is just a book on the shelf.

The Scriptures testify to a love called for whether we’re simply passing strangers on the sidewalk, living next to neighbors, attending to the needs of a friend, or involved in an ugly dispute with someone we passionately dislike. The span of time, whether seven seconds or seventy times or seventy years, makes no difference. Love is eternal; it is unconstrained by time.

3rd Sunday of Advent

Matthew 11:2-11

Rejoice in the Lord

“Be strong and do not fear! Here is your God.” Today is called Rejoicing Sunday. Today the candle on the Advent Wreath is pink, not purple as on the other three Sundays of Advent. It is meant to express our joy at the nearness of Christ’s birthday.

Some people seem to be happy by nature; others mournful by nature. Here is the story of a priest who always preached mournful sermons. He was asked by his parish priest to preach about St. Joseph instead, as he was a cheerful man. The following Sunday the priest spoke about Joseph who happened to be a carpenter and as a result spent a lot of his time making coffins and here we go again with sad, sad tales.

Here are three impressions about happiness. First, that happiness is right here and now.. We convince ourselves that life will be better when we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids are not old enough and we will be more content when they are. After that we are frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together. The truth is there is no better time to be happy than right now.

Second, ‘If you are happy, let your face know.’ Maybe we could begin to be more joyful by taking a peek in the mirror and asking ourselves: does my face look like the face of someone who has heard the good news of the Gospel, namely that I am loved unconditionally by God?

Third, joy will come to us if we set about actively trying to create it for others. If I go about my life demanding that others carry me rather than seeking to carry them; feeding off others rather than feeding them; demanding that others meet my needs rather than trying to meet theirs, joy will never find me no matter how hard I party or try to crank up good cheer.