“Rejoice” – in Latin “Gaudete” – is the motto of the third Sunday of Advent. “Rejoice in the Lord always! I shall say it again: rejoice!” We can read this in the letter to the Philippians. On the Advent wreath, the pink candle is lit today.
“I feel like a million dollars and like to embrace the whole world!” – “I am bursting with joy!” Maybe, or hopefully, everyone knows the feeling of infinite joy that some event brings with it. It is a feeling that makes one hover above the ground, that produces “butterflies in the stomach”.
The Holy Scripture often speaks of joy. We can find more than 200 places in the Old Testament and over 100 in the New Testament. The Holy Scripture presents the joy of God as a source of power (“…, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength! “, Neh 8,10b), which allows one to maintain one’s inner balance even in unpleasant situations. Joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Service to a neighbor may also give joy to the servant, for joy can be incredibly contagious. As an Asian saying goes, “Thousands of candles can be lit by the flame of one candle without their light getting weaker and joy does not decrease if it is shared.“
Whenever we are happy, we become light and bright and we open ourselves to the world. It’s like a light inside. Look at a person who is happy. He is radiating! Something inside opens and radiates outwards. It frees him and so he crosses his inner borders to the outside. He is then often transformed – different than usual!
And when what the last time you really enjoyed something, had a heart-felt laughter, or you were “on cloud nine”? Have you experienced a special moment that is not common and in which you seem to hover above the ground? Anyone who has visions is usually happy, they say. And because of that happiness, one is fully motivated. It has nothing to do with age.
Is there always something great or special that makes us experience moments of joy? Isn’t it the sum of many small, everyday pleasures that move our hearts? Maybe we are tired and dulled that we don’t recognize the joy which made our own heart, as a child who is beginning to jump?
And what about our faith? Is faith still bringing us joy today? Do we walk on clouds when we meet God in prayer and are open to Him?
Pope Francis admonishes us to carry the gospel with joy into the world. How can we do that if we have lost the laugh, the love, the enthusiasm? Do the business activities or the worries of everyday life give no, or only limited opportunities to express our joy. Or if the Sunday Mass has become a weekly ritual without giving new and refreshing inspiration? – And the daily little prayer may have been long forgotten?
It is high time to change this. The third Sunday in Advent should remind us again of the joy and bring us back. And so we are reminded of the promise of God, which became reality in Jesus. Joy is of divine origin. According to His self-image, Christianity is a religion of joy. “Christ is the joy,” Pope Paul VI once said.
„But where did joy go“ we have to ask ourselves. Is joy still contagious so that it invites, promote and motivates? Where did “the ignition” go that appeals to people of all ages? Father Jordan did not say in vain in one of his chapters: “Who does not burn does not ignite!”
So it is time to rediscover our own joy, and in our faith, to unleash the enthusiasm again. God loves us, he wants to be with us, as one of us, right in the middle of our lives and worries. Faith and closeness to God is a gift that belongs to everyone in their own way, but not everyone is prepared to appreciate or handle it. Those who have recognized and experienced it, should express their joy – every day. And the others? – Well, we’re always invited to accept this gift; it’s up to us, whether we access it or not. And right now, in these coming days, this gift is especially close to us. Let us try to open what is closed and look forward to hearing from you again! – And let us share with others in our area this joy. – And let’s light others with rejoicing in our surroundings.
„Rejoice always!“ – HALLELUJAH