A man was severely depressed because, in his words, he “wasn’t getting ahead.” He told his wife that he had no real purpose in life — that he had nothing to live for. “What do you mean, you have nothing to live for,” she protested. “You have plenty to live for. The house isn’t paid for and the car isn’t paid for and Joanie’s braces aren’t paid for . . .”
You get the point. Like that man’s wife, it is often possible for some people to be more clear-eyed in disaster than in prosperity. Isn’t it remarkable that some of the noblest literature of the ancient Hebrews was produced during the Babylonian Captivity? Isn’t it remarkable that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address — often called the noblest speech ever made in America, came in the darkness of the Civil War?
In our search for enlightenment, there is something about dark times that can inspire our most profound thoughts — something guiding us to answer the most important questions in life. God loves us so much that He sends us Light to shine in those dark places. And from the first book in the Bible to the last, you can feel the sacred authors being caught up in the joy of knowing that God sends His Light unfailingly — Light to overcome the darkness of our lives. In the very first verses of the creation story in the Bible, we read that everything was covered with darkness. And so the very first thing God does is create light. “Let there be light, and there was light, and God saw that it was good,” Scripture tells us. Over-and-over again, in the Book of Psalms, we hear the refrain: “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?”
In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist — the man who wore a garment of camel’s hair and lived on locusts and wild honey — a man that we might call a bit of a fanatic — is portrayed as one “sent by God … as a witness to speak for the Light, so that everyone might believe through him. He was not the Light, only a witness to speak for the Light” (Jn. 1:6-8). And, in obedience to God, John the Baptist proclaimed the Light that was to come in the Person of Jesus Christ — the one, True, Guiding Light.
“Follow Me,” says the Lord Jesus, “and I will give you light, I will guide you through the dark nights of your soul and give you meaning and purpose for your life … Follow My light and see that I am with you in your fears and tears and disappointments … Follow My light and let it flow into your heart and destroy the darkness there.”
We anticipate with joy the coming of the wonderful bright light of Christmas. When the Christmas Season comes around, we are attracted to the Light of Christ. We find comfort in the sunshine of Christmas good will. But when the holy day is over, we tend to put the Christmas Spirit back on “hold” again. And in so doing, we thwart the very purpose of Christmas. In giving His Son as the Light of the World, God’s purpose is to transform us into children of light, giving us the power to radiate His Love from moment-to-moment, and for a lifetime.
Are you prepared to search for the Light of the World through the darkness of your tears and fears and heartaches and disappointments? Are you prepared to let the Light flow into every crevice of your soul so intensely that it will radiate into your family household, and beyond into the neighborhood and the world? Are you prepared to receive the Christ Child into your heart in the spirit of complete faith and trust?
God is sending us out into the world to be witnesses to the Light of Christ. “You shall be My witnesses … to the ends of the earth,” Jesus says to us, His followers. And, in obedience to His command, we go out to minister in love, and to bind up wounds, and to be a sign of unity and reconciliation in a world where people are estranged from one another: married couples … families … races … nations … Churches. In obedience, we go out as witnesses to what God is doing through the Light of Christ to harmonize all of humankind in peace and love.
PEACE AND BLESSINGS!
Liturgical Music Corner by our Music Director, Rebecca Brown
Dec. 14, Third Sunday of Advent
From today’s entrance antiphon: “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice! Indeed, the Lord is near.”
Today, is traditionally known as “Gaudete” Sunday, which means “rejoice”. Our first reading says, “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.” In place of our responsorial psalm today, we have the Magnificat, the Canticle of Mary, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.” St. Paul exhorts us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing.”
Even with all the troubles in the world, we can always find a reason to rejoice, for we know that the Lord is coming, and He has won the victory! We have been called to spread the good news, to bring glad tidings to the poor, and to announce a year of favor from the Lord!
Songs for the 9 am Mass:
Processional Hymn: Gathering Song For the Sundays of Advent
“Come, Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus, come and give us your peace.”
Kyrie, kyrie, kyrie eleison. Christe, Christe, Christe eleison.
Responsorial: Luke 1: My soul rejoices in my God.
Preparation of the Gifts: A Voice Cries Out (BB # 45)
Communion Song: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel BB # 38
Choir: “Will We Know Him?”
Recessional Song: Let the King of Glory Come (BB # 63)
BB = Breaking Bread SS = Song sheets
Music from Gaudete Sunday Part 1
Music from Gaudete Sunday Part 2
We had two wonderful events this weekend: