Third Sunday of Advent — Gaudete Sunday — Rejoice!

 

“Would you two stop it already!  I’ve had enough!”  Those are very familiar words for yours truly and I am most certain that as my mother reads these words which I will eventually post on my blog at some point this week, she will laugh and say that I am telling you the truth!  I cannot even begin to tell you how often my mother would utter (yell?) these words at me and my brother when we were younger.  For some strange reason, it was constant.  We would quarrel and argue and fight about anything and everything.  I must admit that as an adult I am now ashamed but I now realize that we were not all that different from other children.  I see it in church; I see it in the grocery store; I see it in department stores, I saw it the other day at the hospital…a young mother, frustrated beyond belief because her two young sons were in a virtual fist-fight over something foolish!  All of this has got me wondering: why?  Why do we argue and occasionally are desirous to keep past hurts alive and well?  Things weren’t all that different at the time of Saint James when he wrote his letter that we read from this Third Sunday of Advent written somewhere between 90AD-100AD.  The early Church constantly argued.  They argues at Ecumenical Councils…in 325AD at the Council of Nicea, the bishops in attendance were actually caught in fist-fights over the two Natures of Jesus.  Some bishops in attendance wanted to place more emphasis on His divinity whereas others wanted to focus more on His humanity.  So see, we are not all that different.  Even the bishops of the early Church complained and argued and disagreed.  People have been arguing and disagreeing about things for years and I hate to say it…I don’t see an end in sight.  Read again the words that James writes: “Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged.”  (Jas. 5:9)  Complaining and arguing bring about nothing but grief!  But Saint James takes it one step further by stating that if we stop the complaining and the arguing the Lord will not judge us.  Ultimately, what brings about disagreements is greed and our thinking ourselves better than someone else.  When we can put aside grievances and past hurts and live harmony with one another, then we continue to build up the Kingdom of God.  A reason to REJOICE this Gaudete Sunday?  Absolutely!  Come Lord Jesus, Come now, come quickly and do not delay!

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