11 Dec Wednesday
Sunday Advent 3 A. Gaudete Sunday begins with the introit from Philipians 4, 4, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.” But the verse goes on to say, “Your kindness make known to all people. The Lord is near.” These two things are the cause of the joy: God’s kindness επιεικες (used in canon law to indicate the supremacy of mercy over a strict application of the law) and this nearness, “in your midst” quality.
In the midst of personal tragedy or suffering, this is difficult to believe, because one now feels the distance and the lack of kindness more poignantly than ever. What cause is there to rejoice. Take a good look at the feast of pictures of the year in the New York Times today; it takes the mind away from the personal to the global very quickly. Yet there’s no relief in one’s personal suffering.
The opening collect than prays that we might have this joy, not only with solemn worship, but glad rejoicing. The first reading from Isaiah, the restoration of Eden in a great return and an ingathering of the peoples displaced. This is the prayer and dream of the modern world. I notice how it is so much more than the very small American Dream, for the sheer grandeur of its scope. That this should be communicated in a homily with heightened poetic language. Pull out any three images of joy in in the photos from the NYT, or use any from the local homiletic site.