“Rejoice,” Third Sunday in Advent

Isaiah, “I rejoice heartily in the LORD, in my God is the joy of my soul…”
St. Paul, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. Brothers and sisters: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

A simple question is asked with many different many different responses:

“How are you today?”

“I feel fine”… Doesn’t mean it
“I’m Okay”… Be a little more sincere
“I’m all right”… Let’s talk about something else
“Not so good today,”…words said from the heart
“As best as I can under the circumstances”… Situational stuff
“Same old same old”… bored at 20 years old
“Fair to Midland”… Absolutely no idea what that means
“Oh, you know”… No, I don’t know, or I would not have asked you
“I’d be good if only”…Let’s blame everyone else except yourself

Isaiah says, “Rejoice” through all times of life, especially in uncertain and difficult times. St. Paul repeats that rarely used word “Rejoice” twice it’s so important. I add it a third time just to make sure everyone hears, feels and experiences this invisible, enduring, hard-to- define-word that transcends any situation or circumstance.

But you may ask, “How can a word like that have such power and potency?” Because “Rejoice” is from God, it is not provided to us by human, earthly hands. “Rejoice” is the divine assuring us that Advent is more than a mere season – Advent is the everyday encounter with God – full of hope and peace.

David Brooks of “The New York Times” wrote,
“Joy is not produced because others praise you, joy emanates unbidden and unforced. Joy comes as a gift when you least expect it, but in those fleeting moments, you know why you were put here and what truth you serve. You may not feel giddy at those moments, you may not hear the orchestra’s delirious swell or see flashes of crimson and gold, but you will feel a satisfaction, a silence, a peace, a hush. Those moments are the blessings and the signs of a beautiful life.”

Let’s see how receiving God’s “Rejoice” changes our life’s perceptions to those same responses.

I feel fine…“Rejoice,” my husband ‘s been out of work for six months

I’m OK…“Rejoice,” I’m trying my best, but I’m moving tomorrow for a job I’m not sure of but better schools for my children

I’m all right…“Rejoice,” My daughter’s been gone for three years now. I follow her on Facebook

Not so good today…“Rejoice,” My cancer’s returned

As best as I can under the circumstances … “My cable went out.” (That one is mine), I thought this was getting too serious…

Same old same old…“Rejoice,” Go for a walk and count how many new things you can spot

Fair to Midland…“Rejoice,” Take one day at a time and walk with God.

Oh, you know…Yes, I do know, and I wish that you knew too, so I say “Rejoice” once more for effect. It’s God’s Advent gift to each of us; not just for a season but for our whole lives.

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. All available on Amazon.com
“Soulful Muse,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons
of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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