Rejoice! Seriously??

The following reflection for the Third Sunday in Advent is by Sr. Marie Lucey, FAN Director of Advocacy and Member Relations.
This reflection was originally posted in our Dec. 7th newsletter

Rejoice.Seriously
The day is grey, wet and dreary as I prepare this reflection. Across the ocean, world leaders gathered in Paris struggle to take meaningful concerted action to protect dangerously warming Earth while some in Congress already declare opposition to the President’s commitment. Some members of Congress and presidential candidates use the recent vicious ISIS attacks on Paris to stir up fear of Syrian refugees fleeing violence, stoking fires of Islamaphobia and anti-refugee sentiment. Some have lost all regard for truth and facts, make up their own version of reality, call for a wall on our southern border to replace a welcome mat already worn thin. Two horrific shootings have occurred within days of each other taking the lives of three people, all parents, at the Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs and 14 so far in San Bernardino. Not to mention homelessness, poverty and dramatic income inequality in our prosperous country.

Yet today’s scriptures insist that we rejoice. “Shout for joy…! cries Zephaniah. “Rejoice in the Lord always,” preaches Paul. “Cry out with joy and gladness…” sings Isaiah. Have the prophets and the apostle lost touch with reality? Their worlds were no less threatening than ours, but they understood WHY we people of faith must rejoice, even if we suffer, even as we weep over the world’s indifference and lack of compassion for poor people and poor Earth.

Why shout for joy? “The Lord God is in your midst…” Zephaniah reminds us. “…great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel,” proclaims Isaiah. “The Lord is near,” states Paul. In Luke’s gospel, the preaching of John the Baptist stirs up hope in the hearts of an oppressed people: “Now the people were filled with expectation” because John “preached the good news.” Advent is, as always, the season of expectation, the season of hope. No matter how gloomy our world appears, we are not only invited to rejoice, we are commanded: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!”

In “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis puts his finger on our reason for rejoicing. While he acknowledges that there are those “whose lives seem more like Lent without Easter… Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved.” (I, 6) We hope that good news will come from Paris, that ISIS will be diminished, that minds and hearts opposed to climate action and welcome to refugees and gun violence prevention may be transformed. But even if none of this comes to pass this Advent, we still must rejoice because we are infinitely loved by Emmanuel, God-With-Us. Always.

Sr. Marie Lucey
FAN Director of Advocacy and Member Relations

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Published in: on December 8, 2015 at 9:06 am  Leave a Comment  

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