Reflection from Fr. Andrew-Carl Wisdom, O.P. for the Third Sunday of Advent
The third Sunday in Advent is traditionally Gaudete Sunday. Liturgically,
the Church explodes in a festive and lighthearted rose that rejoices
with expectation as we draw nearer to Christmas. Yet nothing feels
festive lighthearted or remotely right about rejoicing after yet
another senseless, semi-automatic slaughter of innocents. When I
woke up Sunday morning, I stared out my window at nothing and said,
“Lord, where are you in this senseless violence? How do I find you?
Where do I find a God of peace in such a cruel, inhumane act?” And as I
looked out at the pouring rain, I felt the answer, I saw the answer.
Every drop of rain was from the litany of His tears upon the earth.
God was crying right along with us. God is heartbroken right alongside us.
But what do we do? There are already
discussions about greater gun control and being more alert about the
mentally disturbed and greater security efforts. Certainly there are
calls for prayer for the families and to be more appreciative
ourselves about the fragility of life. But what can I do, here and
now? John the Baptist gives us a clue when people came asking him the
same question in today’s gospel: “What should we do?” For them, the
context was “How should we prepare our hearts for the one you say is
coming?” And for us it is similar, but with the nuance dictated by tragic
circumstances: “How do we bring you, God, into this world especially in
these darkest moments when the world so needs you. How do we bear
your presence, Jesus, like Mary did?”
Does John answer the people by giving
them something radical or over-the-top or extraordinary to do? No.
He sends them right back into the circumstances of their daily lives and
basically says: “Do what you can do. Start with yourselves. Clean
things up! If you have plenty of something, whether clothes, food or
money, give some of it away; if you are being dishonest like the tax
collector in some area of your life, stop it; if you are a person in
authority like the soldier, don’t abuse your power and stop complaining;
be happy with what you have. To really “get and receive the One who
is coming”, to prepare ourselves to be bearers of his presence
more faithfully each day, especially in these darkest of moments,
what most of us can do is be all the more intentional in taking on
the mind and heart of the Emmanuel we profess to believe in; to bear
witness to the hope of that divine presence in all the encounters, events
and efforts of each day; to be peacemakers in our own time and
My favorite definition of Advent is, “a
time of hope totally intent on the joy to come.” Just as Zephaniah
reassures the discouraged Israelites in crisis that God is in their
midst, so we hear this gospel today in a context of a crisis in
violence. St. Paul’s exhortation Gaudete in Domino, semper (Rejoice
in the Lord, always) can only be heeded when we realize joy is a
not a cheaply purchased over-the- shelf commodity, but the fruit of
a disciplined exercise of hope in the joy to come, Emanuel, God with
Carl Wisdom, O.P., is vicar for mission advancement for the Dominicans,
Province of St. Albert the Great in Chicago, IL. Over his decade in
the vocations ministry, he has served on advisory boards and
committees for the National Religious Vocations Conference (NRVC), the
Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations, and the National Catholic Student
Coalition (NCSC). His book, Tuning Into God’s Call was published
Summer 2012. He also wrote Advent and Christmas Wisdom From St.
Thomas Aquinas (Liguori, 2009).
Remember Oh Most Gracious, Virgin Mary! that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored thy help or sought Thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto Thee, Oh Virgin of Virgins, my Mother! To the do I come, before you I cry, sinful and sorrowful. Oh Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions but in Thy Mercy hear and answer me!Amen.
Pope Benedict encourages everyone to have devotion to a particular saint, maybe our namesake.
The Holy Father said that it is important "to have 'travel companions' on the journey of our Christian life: I am thinking of a spiritual director, a confessor, persons with whom we can share the experience of faith, but I am also thinking of the Virgin Mary and of the saints."
"Each one," he said, "should have a saint that is familiar to him, to whom he feels close with prayer and intercession, but also to imitate him or her. Hence, I would like to invite you to know the saints better, beginning with the one whose name you bear, by reading his life, his writings. You can be certain that they will become good guides to love the Lord ever more and valid aids for your human and Christian growth."
Saint Joanna was one of the women associated with the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, often considered to be one of the disciples. In the Bible, she is one of …