This week Gospel sums up in one single word: rejoice, rejoice. Rejoice and be glad because God will fill us with joy at the coming of Christ. The happiness Christ offers doesn't function as an artificial remedy that brings short lived happiness for our physical body but it is the joy flowing from within. It is an everlasting joy. St Paul even went further when he called us to be happy always,
Be happy at all times, pray constantly, and for all things give thanks to God Thes 5,16.
Those who are happy to give thanks to God will receive God's favour in return. It is the kind of happiness that anchors in our hearts. It is the joy our souls are glad to receive and makes them dance for joy. Prophet Isaiah prophesized that it is the joy that comes from the Spirit of the Lord. This same Spirit is extended to those who prepare well for the coming Christ. The Spirit has the power to defeat evil spirits. It is the Spirit that sheds light to destroy the darkness of our souls. It makes the poor in spirit embrace the good news. Indeed, it is the good news that binds up the broken hearts damaged by addictions and liberates the souls that are confused and entangled with ideologies. It is the good news sets free the hearts that are imprisonment with hatred and self focussed and finally it is the good news last forever, throughout the year of the Lord's favour.
Those who would like to embrace the Spirit of the Lord in this joyful season faithfully need to observe the liturgical teaching of the Church. It designs a four week preparation with different steps; each step leads us closer and helps us to enjoy more the coming of Christ. The first week of Advent the gospel reminds us to stay awake simply because we don't know when the hour will come. We are blessed when the Master returns and finds that we are awake. The blessing is reserved for the faithful servant. In the second week the gospel called us to prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight and salvation will be ours. In the third week the Gospel asks us to be witnesses and lights for the world. John the Baptist is not the Light but because he faithfully works for the Light, proclaimed the Light and John becomes light for the world. We, too, can become lights for the world when we work for the Light and proclaim the Light for the world. It is not our own light but the Light of Christ shining upon us and making us mirrors for the Light of Christ. When we prepare ourselves well with these steps, next week the gospel proclaims the joyful message: you have won God's favour. This is the message the angel Gabriel told Mary. Those hearts following the teaching of Jesus: staying awake, preparing the ways of the Lord will joyfully hearing the very same message: you have won God's favour. We have won God's favour not because we are worthy of it but because we open ourselves to welcome the coming of Jesus. This openness makes us join with Mary in praising the Lord,
My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her nothingness, henceforth all ages will call me blessed,
The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name, his mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him. Ps 61
We pray that we always open ourselves to follow the way of God, to walk in a new way and submit ourselves under the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord.