Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.

The joy of Advent! The joy that comes into our hearts as we think of God becoming a baby in order to save us from ourselves and from all that is evil. The readings today remind us once again: God loves us beyond anything that we can imagine and comes always in humility to seek us and to save us.

The first reading today is from the Prophet Zephaniah and expresses again how God struggled with the Chosen People, our ancestors in the faith, and occasionally won their return to Him. How often that is the same with us! If only we would be one hundred percent loyal to God and to His will every moment of our lives! Instead, human life is a struggle to allow God to draw us to Himself.

joy3rdThe second reading is from the Letter to the Philippians and reminds us that God is always near to us. It also reminds us that our death is near. This should not be scary for us, but only reminds us that we humans are born to die. When we die we can be with the Lord in an entirely new way which is only possible through death. We are not allowed to hasten our death but we should be able to look forward to death without fear. Why? Because God is with us and seeks us out and forgives us when we turn to Him. We can hear these words repeated in our hearts: the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

The Gospel today, from Saint Luke, presents us with John the Baptist, preaching the Good News to the people. Good news! That is: God’s good news of salvation to us!

We see John the Baptist telling people how to live. There are no impossible conditions of salvation. People don’t have to do weird things. No, they must only live honestly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God! John the Baptist is repeating the advice of the Prophet Micah—which is valid for all times and for us. This is not a God who demands the impossible, who makes life difficult for us. This is a God who loves us and reaches out to us and draws us to Himself.

The challenge of Advent every year is this: God comes into our world and into our personal lives—will we accept Him and walk with him? He will continue to seek us throughout our lives. No matter how often we turn from Him, He will be there with us with His love!

Father Jesus