It is 15th December 2019. We celebrate the third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete Sunday. The readings are from Isaiah 35:1-6, 10; the second reading is from James 5:7-10; and the Gospel from Matthew 11:2-11. It is time to rejoice because the Lord is in our midst and near than ever. We light the “Bethlehem Candle” as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The third candle is pink and symbolizes joy also known as the “Shepard’s Candle.” Let us not be anxiety, worried or under any type of fear about anything. We rejoice (Phil.4:4-5) because God promises Joy. Do we feel now near to the Lord by these two weeks of preparations? The first reading assures that there is so much of healing and blessing due to the coming of God. “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come and save you.” (Is. 35:4). St. James urges us to be patient. We need to be patient with others and ourselves as the time taken for repentance is indeed enormous. “You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors.” (James 5:9). The responsorial Verse acclaims, “Lord, come and save us.” (Is.35:4). What shall we do to experience joy in our lives is the answer from the Gospel? Jesus is our joy and the reason to rejoice. To experience the integral healing offered by the Lord, we need to have a personal encounter by repenting and leaving our routine selfish choices and think of our broken humanity within and around. The Catechism no. 523 so beautifully enumerates about St. John the Baptist. “He is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. “Prophet of the Most High”; He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.” May our life after repentance point out Jesus. May God bless you and have a blessed week.

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