It is 17th December 2017. We celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent which is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. We will light the candle of the shepherd that anticipates the joy of the Second Coming of Jesus, our Lord and Redeemer. The readings are from Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11; the second reading is from 1Thessalonians 5:16-24; and the Gospel from John 1:6-8, 19-28. Today’s liturgy invites us to rejoice because the Lord is so near. Jesus is our joy. Jesus is for whom we rejoice. Jesus is not a numerical value rather He is God who supplies the flavor and fragrance to all we have and all we are. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah encourages people of Israel to rejoice because God wishes to restore the lost dignity and liberty in their lives. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my whole being shall exult in my God;” Our joy comes in renewing our hearts in the Lord and engraving our hearts with His Words and transforming our lives in peace and goodness. (Is. 61:10). God speaks to God’s people a language of freedom and promise that His love and faithfulness is everlasting. The responsorial Psalm acclaims, “My soul rejoices in my God.” (Is.61:10). St. Paul invites us to rejoice with caution and preparation. Our cause for rejoice has to include gratitude, clarity, prayerfulness, blamelessness, happiness, holiness, faithfulness, purity, and acknowledging the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Since we are now so closer to Jesus than ever, our lives and words must point to Christ Jesus. In the Gospel, we encounter John the Baptist, in the Prologue of John’s Gospel. Being the voice for the voiceless and the margin for the marginalized must not replace Jesus in the life of the poor. Our testimony must express and explain the deep connection and inspiration we have from the Lord. Our faith testimony must project and present Jesus, the Light of the world. As the Baptist did not take any credentials to present Jesus, may our lives bring out Jesus in every moment of our lives. Bringing Jesus among the people is the joy for the world around us. The world will rejoice in the Lord and in His blessings and we are the ones who can bring through our personal conversion, prayer, penance and gratefulness to the Lord. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.” (Phil 4:4,5). May we be the shepherds of light that brings the joy to the world. Have a good day.