Rejoice in a mission accomplished | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

December 11—Third Sunday of Advent

Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10; Psalm 146, R. Lord, come and save us.; James 5:7-10; Gospel—Matthew 11:2-11

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)

Today is Gaudete Sunday. We light the candle of joy. So let us reflect on the joy that our faith and our commitment to the mission of our faith bring.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, we see the joy of fulfilling one’s mission. We have, too, the joy of putting into action one’s mission and drawing confidence from this. Finally, we have the joy that was given to us by Jesus’ Cross and Resurrection.

“Are You the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (cf. today’s Gospel, Matthew 11:2-11) This was John’s question to Jesus through the disciples he sent.

It was a question of expectant hope, one at the threshold of bursting into joy anticipating that Jesus is “the one who is to come.”

The “yes” of Jesus would make everything that John did fall into place as the fulfillment of his mission to announce the presence of the Messiah amid the people, God-with-us.

Joy from action

This is the joy of a mission completed and validated, all the blood, sweat and tears bearing fruit in confirming Jesus is the Messiah.

This is a grace available to us who try to live out the mission given to us. We give ourselves totally to the work out of loving obedience like Jesus, without expecting honors and rewards.

Like John, we hope and anticipate everything we do will result in the confirmation that we have done what we were asked to do.

Mission accomplished. Rejoice!

We see in the response of Jesus his joy.

“Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at Me.”

It is the joy of one who is faithful and constant in fulfilling his mission through action. It was a joy marked by confidence that what he was doing was in fulfillment of God’s will and plan. He was aligned with the divine will and plan.

For Jesus, the joy was always doing the Father’s will. It was a joy that came from action for, with and in the Father. It was this course of action that established the Kingdom of His Father.

Love in deeds

This is a good guide for us, to constantly check how aligned our action is with our mission, the will of God for us.

We can think, feel and say, but action is what validates everything. As Ignatius of Loyola put it, “Love is best expressed in deeds.”

This flows from the process he proposes in the graces we ought to pray for: To see Jesus more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow Him more nearly.

Seeing or knowing leads to loving Jesus more dearly. It is in the following, the action, though, that this loving is best expressed.

This is the love of Jesus for the Father. Loving obedience. Rejoice!

Finally, our joy. Jesus put it very powerfully.

After he praised John, “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist …” He concluded, “Yet the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.”

This is us. We are the least in the kingdom of heaven and yet are greater than John because we know of, and through the apostles witnessed, the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus.

This is our joy, then anticipating the Resurrection of Jesus of which we sing in the Easter Vigil Exsultet: “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer! Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead! Of this night scripture says: ‘The night will be as clear as day: it will become my light, my joy.’ The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.”

It is our joy now in our Advent pilgrimage, renewing our faith and hope that Jesus, who came as God-with-us, who has died and is risen, will come again.




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