Rejoice, the Lord is near!
On this ‘Gaudete’ Sunday, the liturgy begins with an invitation to ‘rejoice!’ Just as in the darkness of midwinter we long for light, so in the darkness of a world suffering the consequences of war and human greed, we long for the transforming light of Christ. But all around us are prophetic signs of God’s love at work, bringing us hope in darkness, and reminding us of the joyful life we are called to live. Today the Scriptures encourage us to listen, and to see the prophetic voices and signs of our times.
In the First Reading, Isaiah acclaims a joyful vision of Christ’s coming. Dimmed eyes will be opened; the lame will leap for joy; and we can have courage because the Lord is near.
The Psalmist shares a vision of the Lord overcoming our human hardship, bringing justice and healing to the world.
The Second Reading is a letter of encouragement, counselling us to be watchful and patient. The Lord is close at hand.
The Gospel describes a meeting between Jesus and the followers of the imprisoned John. Jesus answers their questions by referencing both the prophecies of Isaiah and today’s Psalm. John is a prophet of their time, and Jesus encourages John’s disciples not to lose faith. Jesus himself is the one of whom the ancient prophets spoke.
As followers of Christ, let us take courage, and prayerfully support one another to be patient and faithful to the liberating message of the Good News. We belong to a loving community that longs for, and trusts in, the light of Christ, even in the midst of long winter nights and during these challenging times.