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Sunday, December 14, 2003

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Third Sunday of Advent

Zephaniah 3:14-18
Philippians 4:4-7
Isaiah 12:2-6
Luke 3:10-18

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doing christmas

"What are we to do?" —Luke 3:12

"The crowds asked [John the Baptizer], 'What ought we to do?' " (Lk 3:10) Tax collectors asked John: "What are we to do?" (Lk 3:12) "Soldiers likewise asked him: 'What are we to do?'  " (Lk 3:14, our transl) As we near Christ's coming, we too ask: "What are we to do?"

The Lord answers our question through the Church. Traditionally, today is called "Gaudete Sunday." "Gaudete" is a Latin word meaning "rejoice." What we are to do is to "shout for joy" and "sing joyfully" (Zep 3:14). We are to "rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice! Everyone should see how unselfish [we] are. The Lord is near" (Phil 4:4-5).

We are not to rejoice because of our circumstances, which may even be tragic. We should not be rejoicing so much in our selves or our pleasures as in the Lord, in fact, our Lord. That is, what we are to do is to rejoice that we have accepted Him as our Lord. Then we no longer try to run our lives. We belong to Him (see Gal 2:20). We rejoice in His salvation (Is 25:9) and in our acceptance of salvation through repentance (see Lk 15:7, 10) and faith.

What are we to do to meet Christ this Christmas? We are not just to rejoice but to rejoice in our Lord. If He is not your Lord, choose Jesus now to be the Lord of your life, including your Christmas.

Prayer:  Jesus, my Lord, my Joy, my God, I love You with all my heart forever.

Promise:  "With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation." —Is 12:3

Praise:  Praise Immanuel, "God with us," risen Lord!

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Accepting Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God or on audio AV 43-1 or video V-43.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003