Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you
he has turned away your enemies;
the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
he will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals. Zep 3:14-18a
This Third Sunday of Advent is also referred to as “Gaudete Sunday”. Gaudete means Rejoice. Our readings call us to be a people of joy. This reading from Zephaniah even calls us to “shout for joy” and “be glad and exult with all your heart”! My question is: What is the source of this joy? For there are times when I certainly do not feel like shouting for joy.
I think that this day and these readings are not so much about us. They are rather about God and God’s joy in us. I often forget about the fact that it is God who made me. I was already part of God’s plan before the world began and God rejoices in me! Take a moment and let those words settle into you heart – God rejoices in me!… How wonderful it is! As the psalmist writes,
“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions…my days were shaped, before one come to be.” (Ps 139:13-16)
So, on this Gaudete Sunday, let us remember God’s great love for us. No matter the path our journey has taken “The LORD has removed the judgment against you…he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.” Amen.