Third Week of Advent
Joy with Jesus
During the last two weeks, the Season of Advent has called us to spiritual vigilance in preparing the way for the Lord who is to come. On this Third Sunday of Advent, the season sets forth another interior attitude by which to live out this time of waiting for the Lord. That attitude is joy. Joy is at home in Jesus!
The human heart desires joy. We all desire joy. Every family and every people aspires to happiness. But what is the joy to which the Christian is called to live out and give witness? It is the joy that comes from a closeness to God; a joy that comes from his presence in our lives. From the moment Jesus entered into history, with his birth in Bethlehem, humanity received the seed of the Kingdom of God, like the soil receives the seed, the promise of a future harvest. There is no need to look further! Jesus has come to bring joy to all people for all time. It is not just a hopeful joy or a joy postponed until paradise: as if here on earth we are sad but in paradise we will be filled with joy. No! It is not that, but a joy already real and tangible now, because Jesus himself is our joy. And with Jesus, joy finds its home. Joy is at home in Jesus. He is living. He is the Risen One. And he works in us and among us, especially with the Word and the Sacraments.
We who are baptized, the children of the Church, we are called to accept anew the presence of God among us and to help others to discover him, or to rediscover what they have forgotten. It is a most beautiful mission, like that of John the Baptist: to direct the people to Christ — not to ourselves! — for he is the destination to which the human heart tends when it seeks joy and happiness.
St Paul writes about the conditions for being “missionaries of joy.” Pray constantly. Give thanks to God. Share his Spirit, Seek the good. Avoid evil (See 1 Thessalonians 5:17-22). If this becomes our lifestyle, then the Good News will be able to enter so many homes and help people and families to rediscover that in Jesus lies salvation. In him it is possible to find interior peace and the strength to face different life situations every day, even the heaviest and most difficult. No one has ever heard of a sad saint with a mournful face. This is not possible It would be a contradiction. The Christian’s heart is filled with peace because he knows how to place his joy in the Lord even when going through the difficult moments in life. To have faith does not mean to never have difficult moments but to have the strength to face those moments knowing that we are not alone. And this is the peace that God gives to his children.
With her gaze turned to Christmas already close at hand, the Church invites us to bear witness that Jesus is not a person of the past. He is the Word of God who today continues to illuminate the path of mankind; his gestures — the Sacraments — are the manifestation of the tenderness, consolation and love that the Father bears for every human being. May the Virgin Mary, the cause of our joy, render us ever more joyous in the Lord, who comes to free us from the many forms of interior and exterior slavery.
Sunday Angelus Address
Third Sunday of Advent 2014
The Assisi Project
Saturday Morning with Saint Francis
Saturday, December 22nd
Founded in 2007 by Father Jim and Cliff Garvey after their first pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers in the United States, Canada, Africa, and Europe. Our mission is to help adults of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ and grow closer to the Church through the inspiration and intercession of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.
The Assisi Project meets on the last Saturday of every month in Saint Ann Church (located at 74 Pleasant Street in Gloucester, Massachusetts) for the Celebration of Mass, formation, fellowship, and faith sharing. Our next “Saturday Morning with Saint Francis” is December 22nd beginning at 8:00am. This month, we will continue our reading and reflection on the saints, Bernard of Quintavalle and Jacopane of Todi. All fellow parishioners are invited to join the Assisi Project! You do not need to travel with us to Assisi to be a member of the Assisi Project!
Members of our fellowship all around the world, who range in age from 16 to 93, also pray for those who ask for our prayers. If you would like to join us or if you would like us to pray for your special intention, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us! Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us! Our Lady of Angels, pray for us! All are invited! All are welcome! May the Lord give you peace!
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with members, friends, and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages to more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. For more information about the Assisi Project and upcoming opportunities for faith formation, prayer, and pilgrimage in the Franciscan spiritual tradition, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. May the Lord give you peace!
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