Third Week in Advent
Sr Mariah Dietz
Are you feeling the excitement of today’s scriptures? “Rejoice!” “Sing praise with joy!” “Bring glad tidings!” Are you feeling it? It’s not every day that the Church asks us – commands us to ‘shout with exultation”, to “give ourselves” to rejoicing, no, not just to rejoicing but to excessive rejoicing. It’s electric, a call to cheer, to let go of anxieties, let go of the busyness of the season, the uncertainties of our daily lives. It’s a call to “shout with exultation for great in our midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
Why? Aren’t we in the middle of advent? What are we supposed to be rejoicing about? This a time of preparation? A time of getting up to speed, getting our hearts prepared for the coming of Jesus into our lives? We are barely half way there" Why are we rejoicing now? Certainly, it cannot be because the baking is done, the gifts are wrapped. It can’t even be because today marks the midpoint of our spiritual preparation for Christmas.
No, we are giddy with joy because our loving God is already here; actually here, with us. God is already with us - now, inside me, inside each of you – calming our anxious spirits, encouraging us, calling us to treat one another fairly – or as Benedict teaches “to show pure love of one another (RB 72). God is all around us, surrounding us, within us – providing and encouraging us to care for one another, for those in need, those in pain, those whom He loves.
And the realization that our loving God is here now, within me, surrounding me and all of you is an amazing realization – a reason for excessive jubilation. The awareness that our loving God is here - offering security in the midst of uncertainty is cause for a shout of exultation; God’s presence offers comfort while experiencing loss; it reminds me that I am – you are beloved. It reminds me that I am not alone; that together we form His Body. It reminds me that our God is one who loves us with such intensity that He came to live with and in us; that our God wants us to experience the joy of this loving care today and everyday
Paul tells the Philippians and us to “Rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. It is because our God is here – now. Because He is so near, because He loves us so much that He can’t wait to remind us of Christmas, the joyful anniversary of His coming into our lives. It is because of His great love that He calls us to great jubilation – now, in the middle of Advent. We can’t waste another precious moment to experience the joy of God with us. Now is the time to live the Responsorial Psalm; to “Shout with exultation, for great in our midst is the Holy One of Israel.” Rejoice!