The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you. (Is 35:1-4)
Today, the Third Sunday of Advent, we look back and we look ahead. We have just finished two weeks of the season and we have two weeks to go. Midpoint, we evaluate where we have been and what we yet need to do to be ready for the celebration of Christmas.
By this point in our Advent journey, we realize that we cannot do it alone. The work that needs to be done, the spiritual preparation that is incumbent in this season, is more than we are capable of accomplishing on our own. To be ready, we need the help of someone greater than us.
It is a good thing that we can count on that help from our God.
Isaiah boldly proclaimed, “Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you.” There is no need to worry. There is no cause to fear. God is with us.
Because of that realization, we pause this Sunday and rejoice. Today, Gaudete Sunday, reminds us that we have reason to hope. In that hope, we renew our efforts to prepare for Christmas. In that hope, we await the coming of our Savior.
FAITH ACTION: Make it a point to spread joy this day. You might go as a family to visit someone in the hospital or nursing home. You might want to visit a relative who lives alone. You might even want to go to that neighbor that never has anyone who stops over to visit.