The example of an attitude of readiness and being prepared was given to us in the Gospel reading during the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” The Living Liturgy says: “She was a fitting temple to nurture the human life of her divine Son. Like Mary, we, too, bear the Son of God within us…” Mary is the perfect example of Christ ‘born in us’. She is the example of waiting and watching that we, as believers, need to emulate.
The Responsorial Psalm this Third Sunday of Advent tells us: “My soul proclaims your greatness O God, and my spirit rejoices in you.” These words from the Psalm/Gospel of St. Luke, the Magnificat, are also in essence, the words of the Prophet Isaiah today. In recognizing the truth of this response, we are more prepared for Christ’s coming: for his birth in our hearts, for our place at the table, for the end of our time on earth. Saint Paul tells us succinctly in his first Letter to the Thessalonians how to prepare: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks…Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil…” This is wonderful advice for us to remember now in this Advent season as we await the celebration of the incarnation of God. This is wonderful advice for always throughout the remainder of our year and our lives!
Today is Gaudete Sunday⎯the Sunday of Rejoicing⎯and we are half way to Christmas! In the midst of all the things you are doing, may the blessing of St. Paul from the second reading be yours in this busy season: “May the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” May you be the perfect Christmas gift to all who know you.