Sunday, 11 December 2016 : Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, Memorial of Pope St. Damasus I, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or Rose (Gaudete Sunday)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the occasion of the Third Sunday of Advent, also commonly known as the Gaudete Sunday, a special occasion in the season of Advent, when we see a change in the liturgical colour being used, from the usual purple or violet into the colour of rose, to symbolise the more joyous occasion of today’s celebration.

The word Gaudete itself comes from Gaudeamus, or ‘Joy’ in Latin, signifying what we are celebrating today, that is the joy we all experience in the anticipation of the coming of the Lord at Christmas. Therefore, as we focus on this aspect of joy, in a way, we suspend for a short moment the penitential and the solemn nature of this season of Advent, a season of preparation, and look forward to the joy of Christmas.

But again, as we surely have discussed a lot during this season of Advent thus far, and year after year, we all should realise that we need to ask ourselves the same question again and again, lest we forget and misunderstood the intent of our Christmas celebration. What are we rejoicing about at Christmas? What are we so happy about when the time of Christmas comes?

Is it about the gifts and presents that we are about to receive? Is it about the good times and the holidays we are going to enjoy for ourselves? Is it about the joyful time that we are going to enjoy and share with our family members, with our relatives and with our friends? These are usually what many of us are focusing and thinking about as we approach Christmas and its celebrations, but if our focus are on all of these, then I am afraid that we have missed what the joy of Christmas is essentially about.

On the occasion of this Gaudete Sunday therefore, all of us are reminded of the great joy that each and every one of us ought to have because of one singular act of love by our God. And that was the salvation which He brought into the world, through His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who have entered into the world as a Man, that by bearing our own sins and the punishment for our sins upon Himself, we may all be redeemed through Him.

And that was the joy which the Scriptures today presented to us, the joy of the people who have been healed and made whole again, when those who were blind had their eyes opened, when those who were deaf and mute had their ears and tongues opened and loosened, when those who were paralysed and were possessed by evil spirits were healed from their afflictions.

But most importantly, above all these, besides the afflictions of the flesh, God has brought upon us His healing for the disease and sickness of our soul, and that is sin. Sin has become a great menace for us, a source of corruption that affects and destroys our soul, and from the soul, sin corrupts everything else, from mind to heart and to our bodies.

That is why we are so joyful this Christmas, because not only that God had come into the world to be with us, but through Him we have also received a new hope and an escape route from the despair that has been with us because of our sins. By our sins and disobedience we have been separated from God, and by the Lord’s doing, He has reunited us with Himself, all of us who believe wholeheartedly in His promise.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day therefore, as we reflect on the joy of Advent, and ultimately the joy of Christmas, let us all keep in mind that we ought to put Christ our Lord at the centre of our celebrations of Christmas, and ultimately, of course, not just at Christmas but also for the rest of our lives, so that anchored firmly in Christ, we may not be easily swayed by the temptations and the persuasions of this world to sin and be disobedient against God.

Let us all make good use of this Advent season and help one another to reorientate their lives and spend more time to reflect and pray, so that by discerning carefully and guided through our faith, we may all be able to find our true joy in the Lord, and receive the fullness of grace as we prepare ourselves throughly to welcome the Lord Jesus into our lives.

Remember, brethren, we do not just remember His first coming into this world, which has already happened. We also anticipate in this season of Advent, the Second Coming of our Lord and Saviour, Who will come in His glory to save all of us who have remained true and faithful to Him. Let us not be complacent and be swayed by the persuasions of the world, which wants us to continue on our current path filled with sin.

May the Lord Jesus bless us and strengthen in us our faith, as well as our commitment to live a life devoted to Him, that we may put Him at the centre of our lives, and in all the things that we say and do, we always declare and show to all the glory of our God and the goodness of His salvation to all. Come, Lord Jesus, come and bless Your people. Amen.

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