Third Sunday of Advent

Is 61: 1-2a, 10-11 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

God wants us to be happy

Stern Lucy, the psychiatrist, probed, “Charlie Brown, what do you want to be when you grow up?” After careful pondering, Charlie Brown replied, “I want to be deliriously happy!” In saying that, he revealed the depths of his heart, and of ours. To dance with abandon before the Lord, as did King David, leading the ark back to Jerusalem. God has come home!

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God!” Or, as it says in Revelations: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” My eyes tear up when my ears hear this, sobbing from relief.

These are not naïve fictions, but dreams that will come true, promises that God will keep. Even now, when division and disease tear at our world and maim our hearts, God’s consolation illumines everything.

—Fr. Stephen Yavorsky, SJ, is the parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier Parish and a staff member at the Ignatian Spirituality Center in Kansas City, MO. He spent six years in Rwanda, and founded the Ignatian Spirituality Program in Denver.

 

Prayer

Spirit of the Lord God, anoint us. Empower us to gladden the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to free prisoners. Remove all embarrassment from our open joy; may we be the garden where your justice and praise spring up.

—Fr. Stephen Yavorsky, SJ