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Sunday, December 16, 2012

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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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more joy in sufferingthan in enjoyments

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

As we near Christ's coming this Christmas, the Lord commands us to "shout for joy" and to "sing joyfully" (Zep 3:14). In doing this, we are joining our heavenly Father, Who is singing joyfully because of us (Zep 3:17).

The Lord commands us not only to rejoice sometimes, but to rejoice always (Phil 4:4). This does not mean we rejoice over all things, but that we rejoice in the Lord under all circumstances. Because the Lord is our Joy and the circumstances are not, we can rejoice in the midst of "the distress of many trials" (1 Pt 1:6). By God's grace and our faith in the Lord, sufferings do not rob us of our joy. In fact, we rejoice in the measure that we share Christ's sufferings (1 Pt 4:13). This miraculous joy is the joy of Jesus and therefore complete joy (Jn 15:11). It is divine joy, "inexpressible joy" (1 Pt 1:8), Marian joy (see Lk 1:47), and the true joy of Christmas.

Therefore, "rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!" (Phil 4:4)

Prayer:  Father, on this Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, give me a deeper faith and a spirit of unselfishness (see Phil 4:5) so as to produce in my life the fruit of the Spirit called joy (Gal 5:22).

Promise:  "He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire." —Lk 3:16

Praise:  "I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul" (Is 61:10).

Reference:  (When we know about our Lord's deep love for us, we can "rejoice always". Order our tape on Divine Love on audio AV 52-3 or video V-52.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 27, 2012

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