Sunday, December 16, 2007

SUNDAY REFLECTION - December 16, 2007

Good News Reflections

Good News Reflection

FOR SUNDAY: December 16, 2007
Third Sunday of Advent

Sunday's Readings:
Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
Ps 146:6-10
James 5:7-10
Matt 11:2-11 /121607.shtml

Joy is the theme of the Third Sunday of Advent. As it says in the first reading, "Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication to rescue you!" This is the reason for our joy. We have been ransomed from sin and its destruction; Jesus paid the price through his terrible sacrifice on the cross. This is why Jesus came to earth to be born as one of us: to rescue us from the horrors of an eternal loss of God and his love. Compared to eternity, our current problems are little, very little indeed.

Joy today comes from realizing that, because of Jesus, no sins against us and no destructive forces can do us permanent harm. In fact, God uses everything for our benefit! He defeats evil by making blessings come from it — for us!

Even the worst of times become huge blessings if we let Jesus lead us through them. With Christ and in imitation of him, our sufferings become blessings for others as we use what we've learned to minister to them. Thus, our joy gets multiplied beyond measure.

Therefore, in Christ we are crowned with everlasting joy; we feel his joy and gladness because of the good that will come and is already starting. Sorrow and mourning will definitely flee as we rise above our pain to rejoice in the goodness of our faithful and compassionate God.

As the second reading points out, we must be patient while we wait for the Lord to convert our trials into triumphs. To maintain an attitude of joy, we must be firm in our faith, not doubting the Lord's love and concern for us. And we must not complain, because complaints mean that we're not trusting God, we're thinking that we know better than God about how our problems should be resolved and how long it should take.

Joy comes from rejoicing in the good news that God really does care and is of course working on our behalf to produce many wonderful blessings from our sufferings, just like Jesus says in the Gospel reading: "Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me."

Questions for Personal Reflection:
What are you unhappy about? Can you find joy in the trial? — Not because you're suffering but because God will make good come out of the suffering if you want to use it for the benefit of others. Talk to Jesus about that today. What is he telling you? What hug is he giving you?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Describe a time when you saw blessings come from your sufferings. If you could do it all over again, with the option of avoiding those particular troubles, would you? Why or why not?

© 2007 by Terry A. Modica