Tomorrow is Gaudete Sunday – traditionally a day of rejoicing. The readings given are explicitly very joyful & encouraging. We have included a couple: one of them, though, speaks of the struggle we all have at some stage to be joyful, hopeful people. Gaudete Sunday some years may match our feelings – other years we may feel a long way from the joy & the hope it celebrates. We are well on with our Advent journey & struggle is usually part of it but we hope that today you will have some taste of the joy, hope & peace that are the Christ Child’s early Christmas gifts to us. We will be celebrating all this in our Sunday zoomed reflection tomorrow evening.
The blessing is the Irish one from ‘Sacred Weave’. Amidst all the joy, many people continue to suffer – let us remember some of these people as we listen & share the blessing with them.
With our love
Isaiah 12. 2-6.
Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defence;
he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
In that day you will say:
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
Philippians 4 4-7.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
You must be men & women of ceaseless hope, hoping in the light that will conquer the darkness, because only tomorrow can today’s human & Christian promise be realised, & every tomorrow will have its own tomorrow, world without end. Every human act, every Christian act, is an act of hope. But that means you must be men & women of the present, you must live this moment – really live it, not just endure it – because every moment, for all its imperfections & frustration, is pregnant with all sorts of possibilities, is pregnant with the future, is pregnant with the possibility that light will overcome darkness, is pregnant with the future, is pregnant with love, is pregnant as Mary was with Christ.
Walter J. Burghardt
Show us the Fullness and Mysteries of Joy.
God of story, thank you for being a God who doesn’t discard pain but enters it. Sometimes it feels like joy is a privilege. Who is safe and well enough to partake in it? Show us the fullness of joy, that we could enter it without becoming numb to the stories that have made us. Grant us that lament which tells the truth of our traumas without allowing them to swallow us whole and gain control where they aren’t welcome. Show us the mysteries of joy, that we would no longer view it as a singular emotive happiness but as every defiant step toward hope— a being held by the assurance of a cosmic and impending healing. And that somehow that assurance, that promise, would lead us back to our dignity and delight when we are moving toward despair.
Cole Arthur Riley