Sunday, December 16, 2012

Advent Cleansing Joy

Tribulation Times



December 16, 2012  

(Php 4:4-7) Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

DEVOTIONAdvent Cleansing Joy

ACN:  Advent 2012 in Bethlehem – Christmas behind the Wall

TEMPOThe Third Sunday of Advent

Manila, Philippines – “REJOICE in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.” This passage taken from the Entrance Antiphon in today’s liturgy sets the tone of preparations for the coming of the Lord. Today is Gaudete Sunday, a Sunday of Rejoicing, for today, the readings remind us that the Lord is indeed coming. It is the Third Sunday of Advent.

The Prophet Zephaniah in the First Reading exhorts the Chosen People for the Lord is in their midst and He is a mighty Savior – One who will rejoice over them with gladness, and renew them in His love. He will intervene on their behalf and will take away all their misery. (cf. Zep 3:14-18) In the Second Reading the Apostle Paul reminds the Philippians and he tells us all today: “The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (cf. Phil 4:4-7)

In the Gospel reading, John the Baptist preaches to the people that One mightier than he will come: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. His winnowing fan is in His had to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn.” (See Lk 3:10-18)

John reminds the people and he tells us today: The coming of the Lord must lead us to prepare ourselves. We must be faithful to the values of the kingdom. We must not be attached to material possessions for God alone can give us true joy and gladness.

The season of Advent is a call to conversion. It is an invitation to turn back to God who loves us. Let us take advantage of this moment to examine ourselves and assess how far we have been missionaries of the love of God. In this Year of Faith, let us commit ourselves to be authentic evangelizers of the Good News. Let us do it with joy and love. In the Eucharist, we encounter the God who loved us first and who alone can give us the joy, a joy that cannot be taken away from us. Let us turn to him and say: “Come, Lord Jesus!”

As we enter into the Third Week of the Advent Season, may we realize that God is the source of our joy. He alone can satisfy our needs. Let us turn to Him for the times that we have forgotten Him for we have been preoccupied with the accumulation of wealth. Let us heed the call of John the Baptist. Let us prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus, the source of joy for all of humanity.


St. Augustine in his commentary addresses a question to the evangelist. "Why", he asks, "did you write your letter, if those whom you were addressing had already received the anointing that teaches all things and if they had no need that anyone instruct them? Why, indeed, do we speak and instruct the faithful?" And here is his response, which is based on the theme of the interior Master:

"The sound of our words strikes the ear, but the true Master is within […] I, for my part, have spoken to all; but they to whom that Unction within speaks not, they whom the Holy Ghost within teaches not, those go back untaught […]. There is then, I say, a Master within that teaches: Christ teaches; His inspiration teaches".

External instruction is therefore needed; we need teachers. But their voices penetrate the heart only if the interior voice of the Spirit is also present. "We are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him" (Acts 5:32). With these words, addressed to the Sanhedrin, the Apostle Peter not only affirms the necessity of the Holy Spirit's interior witness, but he also indicates the condition for receiving it: readiness to obey, to submit oneself to the Word.

It is the Spirit's anointing that makes us pass from propositions to their reality. Believing which is also knowing is a theme dear to the evangelist John: "We know and believe the love God has for us" (1 Jn. 4:16). "We have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God" (Jn. 6:69). "Knowing" in this case, as in general throughout the whole of Scripture, does not mean what it means for us today, i.e. having an idea or concept about something. It means experiencing it, entering into relationship with the thing or with the person. The Virgin's statement: "I do not know man", certainly didn't mean "I don't know what a man is …"

What Pascal experienced on the night of the 23rdof November 1654 was a clear case of the anointing of faith. He committed it to writing with brief exclamatory phrases in a text found sewn inside his jacket after his death:

"God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob! Not of the philosophers and of the learned. Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace. God of Jesus Christ.[…].He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel. […] Joy, joy. Joy, tears of joy. […]. This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and he whom you have sent, Jesus Christ".

Thoughts and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor, Charity, Humility

11. You will not dispute nor show your repugnance and aversion, for meekness makes us bear everything without complaining.

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