Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11; 1Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28
Today is Gaudete Sunday; Joy Sunday! It is a day for considering all that we as Christians can rejoice about and, of course, when all is said and done our greatest joy, our only final joy, is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
This truth can be expressed in many ways and so I asked a few people how they would express their joy and here are a few of the answers I got.
"I rejoice because God is looking for me. I sometimes feel like I imagine Stuart Diver must have felt when he was buried all that time in the avalanche in the snow fields; helpless, doomed, alone, cold and desperate. He must have been so glad to hear the noise of the people looking for him. The Scriptures tell me, and so do the prayers of the Eucharist, God is looking for me. He has sent his Son Jesus to find me. I lie there trapped in all the weakness of human life and I long to be rescued and to see the face of my rescuer. I know he will find me one day; he will come for me and save me. Not everyone has this longing for him or this trust in him. I rejoice that I have been granted this gift."
"I rejoice because he is near. This is exciting! He is not far away. He is near because my stay on earth, however young I am, will soon end. Death is not a falling asleep, it is a waking up. And he is near in his Second Coming. He has promised and I believe his promise. This gives me so much joy. Many people do not have the gift of this sense of meaning in their life. They wait for death. Christians wait for life and life is coming; it is near."
"I rejoice because he is here. As the Scripture says: He stands among you. Jesus is in our world but he is not recognised. He is here already among us actively working to save us in all sorts of ways. What a gift this presence is! He is also present in my heart, in my life."
"I rejoice because He is my Redeemer, my Saviour. He will save me from all those things I am so afraid of - my weakness and sinfulness, Hell, Satan, death. He is my Saviour and he is stronger than any other person or thing. He is Lord of all and has power over all. I rejoice that my God is THE God and that in Him I am safe."
"I rejoice that I am a member of such a big lovely family, God’s family. Whenever I meet a catholic who believes as the Church believes I am immediately at home. I click with that person, we are friends. We understand each other - we ‘love’ each other."
"I rejoice that I have a gift to give God that is worthy of him, the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist. I know that when I give this gift to God it is pleasing to God and it expresses my love for God in a way that God accepts. The Eucharist is the gift that God wants me to give him and it is the gift I want to give him."
"I rejoice that I have a place to confess my sins where he is waiting for me with the priest. He always forgives me. He understands me. He is gentle with me. He helps me. I rejoice in this sacrament because it gives me a new start. It is God’s mercy at work on my behalf."
"I rejoice that I know where I am going in life. My life is a journey and I know it’s destination. So many people don’t know where they are going. I do. And I have all the help I need to get there from the Church and from the sacraments."
"I rejoice that Jesus has taken the one thing I don’t like about life i.e. suffering and made it into a kind of treasure for me, fuel for my relationship with him. He could have taken any aspect of human life and turned it into this treasure but he chose suffering. I am so glad that I have found joy in suffering. I never thought it was possible but it is. He has given it meaning because I find him there."