Today we celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent, traditionally known as “Gaudete Sunday” or the “Sunday to rejoice.” Gaudete Sunday signals the halfway mark signifying that Advent is almost over, so we are invited to rejoice that Christmas is near. To this, Prophet Isaiah reminds the Israelites in the first reading to “rejoice with joyful song, strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense.” Saint James in our second reading today also states, “You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.” With these words, Saint James reminds us to be happy, patient and ready, because our Lord is at hand. Remember my dear friends, that the four weeks of Advent represent the four thousand years the Israelites waited for and anticipated the coming of the Messiah, who would save them. So you can see why they are called to be excited and to rejoice since their liberation is at hand.

Hence, Advent though it is a time of anticipation, expectancy and preparation, is also a time of happiness and joy. So what are you happy or joyful about this Advent season? What are you going to rejoice about on Christmas Day, with the birth of Christ? Today’s readings call us to rejoice because our Savior Jesus Christ is close at hand, hence, our salvation is at hand.

Jesus’s response to John the Baptist’s question through his disciples in today’s gospel reading gives us something to be excited for and someone to rejoice about. Jesus responded to them saying, “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. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” With these words, Jesus clearly told the disciples of John the Baptist, let my works speak for me or let my work speak for itself.’ These words of Jesus are actually meant for us to meditate on, as it reminds us of our relationship with God and his love for us. Hence, the marvelous works of God in our lives should be a source of excitement and happiness, as we anticipate his coming on Christmas Day. Think about all the blessings, graces and mercies God has bestowed upon you and continues to bestow upon you. Think about his gifts to you, and how he consistently showers you with love and mercy. These are things you need to be grateful to God for and excited for, because he is coming to shower more of these upon us this Christmas time.

My brothers and sisters, in these remaining days of Advent, let us be happy, joyful, grateful, and appreciative, as we prepare ourselves to celebrate God’s love and mercy for us in sending his only begotten Son. Let us come closer to him this Advent season through: Prayer, Confession, Spiritual Direction and Acts of Mercy or Charity.