for Sunday, December 16, 2012
Be not discouraged! The Prophet Zephaniah lived some 600 years before
Jesus Christ and was upset about the way people related to God in
Jerusalem. While this prophet speaks of woe and destruction, he also
speaks of the joy of serving God and the joy when all the people are
faithful. That is what we are hearing today in the first reading. We
should not be discouraged when things are rough because if we are faithful
to God, then all will be well in the long run. This is not a message which
tells us that all will be well no matter what we do. It is clear that all
can be well if we are faithful to God.
The Letter to the Philippians has the same message today: Make your
requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all
understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
The Letter to the Philippians again tells us that we will have peace if we
make our ways know to God and ask Him to help us. Again, there is no
promise that everything will be wonderful, but a promise that peace will
guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Luke's Gospel today tells us that John the Baptist preached the good news
to the people. What was the good news? The good news is that we must
repent: share what you have with others, be honest and satisfied with what
Today, in much of modern culture, we want only happiness for ourselves and
pleasure. All of today readings tell us that seeking our own happiness and
pleasure will ultimately get us nowhere. We must seek God's will and the
good of others if we want to be happy forever. The good news, the Gospel,
is not an easy message for our time. On the other hand, it is the only
recipe for true happiness. All the money of the world cannot make us
happy. All the physical pleasures of the world cannot give us peace. All
of the power of the world cannot make us rejoice. Only living with God
daily is capable of that. We should never be fooled.
Does that mean that those who follow Jesus Christ are sad and deprived in
this world because they know that they will rejoice in the world to come?
Not at all. Doing God's will here and now makes wonderfully happy people,
even if there is adversity and challenge in our lives.
So on this Third Sunday of Advent, we sing about joy and gladness and
rejoicing! Let us delight in the Lord and come to the deepest joys
possible by doing His will.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Zephaniah 3.14-18a
Second Reading: Philippians 4.4-7
Gospel: Luke 3.10-18
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: