December 11, 2022
Second Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)
Gaudete Sunday invites us to rejoice and experience what truly gives joy from within. The readings today remind us of the joy that accompanies the fulfillment of the prophetic promise of salvation in the person of Jesus Christ.
The first reading (Is 35:1-6a, 10) speaks of the salvation, comfort, and healing that is promised to take place in the messianic era accompanied by everlasting joy for those who are ransomed:
“Be strong, fear not! Here is your God; he comes with vindication; with divine recompense, he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy” (v. 4-6, 10).
Moreover, the gospel reading (Mt 11:2-11) affirms the advent of the promised Messianic era in Jesus Christ. Asked by John’s emissaries of his identity, i.e. whether or not he is the Messiah, Jesus in affirmation pointed them to the very signs that the Prophet Isaiah spoke of:
“Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them” (v. 5).
Clearly then our readings illustrate to us the fulfillment of the promise of salvation in Jesus Christ. This is the Good News. This is what brings joy to everyone. This is the joy of the Gospel which Pope Francis speaks of in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.
Experience will tell us that ultimately there is no joy in the path of consumerism. Pope Francis affirms this in his apostolic exhortation when he recognizes as a great danger in today’s world “the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience.” In such desolation, God is no longer heard, “the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt and the desire to do good fades” (EG, 2).
What brings back the joy is a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ. In Jesus we experience the infinite love and mercy of God. Even if we have shunned God’s love over and over again, the Lord awaits our return to him. He is never tired of forgiving us; His boundless and unfailing love restores our joy and makes it possible for us to lift our heads up and to start anew (EG, 3). Let us then hear God’s invitation and allow him to love us and to embrace us back in his mercy.
Have you found joy in life? The search has probably been long and even frustrating. Let this Advent season bring you to a renewed personal encounter with the Lord—the source of true joy.
Sincerely, do you find joy in the Gospel?
Have you experienced distractions that prevent you from experiencing the joy of the Gospel.
See how you can make Advent an opportunity to recapture the “birth” of Jesus in your heart.