Zephaniah 3:14-18a; Phil 4:4-7; Lk 3:16-18
3rd Sunday of Advent
As might be expected on a Sunday that emphasizes our excitement about the fast approaching feast of Christmas, the readings this week are filled with good news. “Sing joyfully, O Israel” the prophet Zephaniah proclaims as he begins his prophecy of hope. St. Paul exhorts the church in Philippi to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” The gospel reading concludes with the author noting that John the Baptist “preached good news to the people.”
No question that the readings are full of joy. Can we say the same thing about our lives? More specifically – are we aware of the joy that our lives contain?
Yesterday during my time of private prayer, I touched this truth. I experienced the blessedness of my life in a palpable way for a few moments and was moved to a deep gratitude towards God. The afterglow lasted on my trip home and I shared it with my wife and daughter. It was a beautiful moment.
And then my wife and I hit the first of three separate traffic jams on our trip into New York City and the experience faded amid my determination not to be cut off by a very aggressive cab driver. It amazes me that after all these years of ministry how easily I can be thrown off by the most modest of aggravations.
My point here is that whether or not I am consciously aware of it, my life is truly blessed by God in a multitude of ways. And so is yours. One of the limitations of our humanity is how few moments most of us are truly in touch with this joy.
What I’m suggesting during these final two weeks of Advent is to take a few moments in quiet prayer- more, if you can – and to ask for the grace to see the blessedness in your own life. If you can see it there, seeing the blessedness in a baby born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago should be no trouble at all.
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
(To purchase book-length collections of my reflections on scripture and on the Church, go to http://www.twentythirdpublications.com or to amazon.com. My most recent book is entitled, “Make Room for Scripture.”)