December 11th, 2015 by Carl Buffington
And as we light the third Advent candle we pray:
Rejoice! It’s an imperative to rejoice, and it rings out of all the readings for this day, Old and New Testaments. And the gospel reading ends on the note of the proclamation of good news! It’s not based on how we are feeling or where we are at any given moment emotionally or spiritually, it is based on who God is, what He has done, and his presence! Whereas, happiness is dependent on happenstance.
In the passage from Zephaniah, the first verse is full of imperatives to rejoice:
And the rest of the passage is all about the reasons to rejoice i.e. who God is and what He has done as is the responsorial psalm reading from Isaiah. It concludes:
The wellspring of our joy is that the present and future reign of our God is assured! Living in this assurance is what ought to distinguish our lives from the rest of the world. It is quoted that Friedrich Nietzsche challenged Christians one time:
We have a hope, a living hope, and it is part of what distinguished Jesus’ life. And it isn’t dependent upon circumstance, but upon the presence of our God. There is joy even in the midst of an upturned lip.
Here’s an example I picked up from John Shea’s book, The Challenge of Jesus.
In the middle ages a character trait of Jesus’ was dubbed, “hiliaritas.”
Hilaritas was a special blend of Joy, Courage, and Freedom. Its symptoms included:
It has been summed up that Assurance is the heart of hilaritas, a joy deep within nourished by the assurance that God loves us without reason, limit or caution. Joy and rejoicing rise out of that assurance and that is part of what animated the life of Jesus. Since it is indeed part of He who lives in us, both Gaudete and Hilaritas must be readily available to us.
Let us Rejoice!
PS Scriptures for 3Advent: Zephaniah 3.14-20; Isaiah 12.2-6; Philippians 4.4-7; Luke 3.7-18