lighten up

Dec 13, 2020

It’s Gaudate Sunday today – the Third Sunday Advent and the Introit Antiphon for today’s Mass begins with the words “Gaudete in Domino semper” (Rejoice in the Lord always).

I don’t know of anyone who would describe 2020 as a “year of favour.” But it’s helpful to keep in mind that there was even more chaos and uncertainty a few hundred years before Jesus when the writer of today’s first reading penned the great prophecy of hope from the Old Testament book of Isaiah:

“The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
because he has anointed me
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor,
to bind up hearts that are broken;
to proclaim liberty to captives,
freedom to those in prison;
to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.”

This passage is familiar to us because early in his ministry Jesus stands in the temple to read this text adding that these prophetic words are being fulfilled in their here and now.

Yes 2020 has been a tough year, but this prophecy helps us to see that even when it is difficult to find hope, there is good news; healing for broken hearts, liberty for captives and freedom from all that oppresses us. The favour of the Lord is always present, and for all.

We often misunderstand prophecy, thinking that a prophet is one who magically predicts future events. Instead the prophet is the person who is able to recognise the precursors of disaster and the seeds of hope in the present circumstances, people and events.

The prophet is one who is able to recognise the divine life in every situation and in every person.

Along with our confusion about the mission of the prophets, we also make the mistake of picturing prophets as old men with beards who lived a long time ago. But here and now in 2020 you are already exercising your prophetic gift when you honestly consider the likely consequences of your words and behaviour before you speak or act, and when you then make choices that ensure a future full of hope for yourself and for others.

Today’s second reading concludes with a beautiful prayer that you might like to offer for yourself, for those you love, and for those for whom we are praying listed below.

“May the God of peace
make you perfect and holy;
and may you all be kept
safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body,
for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God has called you
and he will not fail you”.

When we know that Jesus is working to answer this prayer in us we are able to lighten up, and not take ourselves too seriously.

There’s a great old quote: “Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.”

An Invitation:

  • Take some time today to consider the present reality of your life. Where do you notice the beginnings of possible difficulty? Where do you notice seeds of hope?
  • What specific prayer can you pray and what action can you take today to nurture the seeds of hope?

7 Comments

  1. Thank you John and I do love the prayer you have this morning , I would like to add SP and SP to your prayer list.

    Reply
  2. “Pray for a radical interior transformation so that others may experience Christ more fully in us”. Vincent Pizzuto +

    I would like to offer a prayer of Hope this morning, Words by Howard Thurmau, an African American writer, ‘Conversations with God’ …

    “I need your sense of Time
    Always I have an underlying anxiety about things.
    Sometimes I am in a hurry to achieve my ends
    And am completely without patience. It is hard for me
    To realize that some growth is slow,
    That all processes are not swift. I cannot always discriminate
    Between what takes time to develop and what can be rushed,
    Because my sense of time is dulled.
    I measure things in terms of happenings.
    Oh, to understand the meaning of perspective
    That I may do all things with a profound sense of leisure –
    Of Time.

    May we all unite this time of Advent and continue our humble efforts to plant seeds of hope, happiness, success and love. +

    Reply
  3. Thank you Father John and all those who share their thoughts with us all – may we be people of hope.

    Reply
  4. Gaudate Sunday is time for a ‘breather’ and encouragement into final preparation for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
    “May the God of Peace make you perfect and holy.
    God has called you and he will not fail you.”
    Thank You Father for this reflection today.

    Reply
  5. Amen

    Reply
  6. To complete the G K Chesterton quotation: “..and devils fall because of their gravity.”

    Reply
  7. May I lighten my,
    Thoughts,words, actions,
    So as to be immersed more
    Fully in the Holy Spirit.
    -I am watching a thrush,
    trying to break open a snails shell,nothing is distracting her,
    Shes totally ‘focused’.
    May I be totally focused
    On my Journey,to
    Our Heavenly Father also.

    Reply

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