3rd Sunday of Advent

First reading: Zep. 3:14–18a

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has removed the judgment against you he has turned away your enemies; the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear. On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.

Second reading: Phil. 4:4–7

Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Gospel: Lk. 3:10–18

The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”

Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people.

In other words Fr. Felix S. Ferrer, SVD (Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City)

The third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete” Sunday—“Rejoice” Sunday (symbolized by the pink candle). I believe that the theme of joy is just fitting as we are nearing the date of the birth of our Savior. I wish to reflect briefly on three intertwining themes that would highlight our celebration today: Rejoice, Repent, and Renew.

1. Rejoice
This is the invitation to take things in stride. All problems have solutions. As one song goes: Tawanan mo lang ang iyong problem! (Just laugh at your problem!) This is what the first and second readings tell us. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice!” This rejoicing refers to a deeper kind of joy.

2. Repent
This is the call to change for the better. Discard your old ways and transform into a new person! As John the Baptist exhorted his audience, “Do not practice extortion; stop collecting more; share your extra belongings.” This is a complete turnaround—a conversion!

3. Renew
This is the challenge of having a new perspective. Many times, we hold on to traditional thinking, and we overlook the signs of the times. In the Good News, John did not lose sight of the coming Messiah—the sign of the new age! “One mightier than I is coming… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire…” This is total openness!

May we take time to rejoice (be joyful), to repent (be converted), and to renew (be open). This is the best way to meet the coming Messiah.

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