Sunday, December 14, 2014

Third Sunday of Advent: Receiving Joy

“I rejoice heartily in the LORD, in my God is the joy of my soul.” Isaiah 61:10

My godson Paul is one of those joyful babies. He often smiles with a sparkle in his eyes and laughs with a fire in his belly. Whenever he sees his mom or dad, he practically leaps towards them. He erupts in joy as they come near.

Little Paul teaches me a huge lesson about joy. When we sense someone who loves us comes near, we experience joy. The loving recognition of the person fills our hearts with gladness and hope that radiate through our dancing eyes and beaming cheeks. Since Paul readily accepts love and care from his parents, it is as if his souls smiles.

The readings today encourage us to receive God like little Paul. We are challenged to welcome a God who simply wants to come closer, to delight in us like a lover, to make us fruitful like a verdant garden. A good part of me yearns for this. Yet, another part of me resists this coming near. The part that harbors self-sufficiency, self-importance, self-preoccupation, or self-comfort; the part that opposes bringing glad tidings to the poor, healing to the brokenhearted, and freedom to captives. However, whenever I witness the eruption of joy in Paul, the healing of past hurts in young adults I accompany, or the swelling of hope among needy families in Tijuana whose homes I help build, a greater desire in me emerges. Joy erupts gradually. A joy in recognizing that God wants to delight in me; a joy in seeing myself as part of something much greater.

Lord, help me to receive joy. May I let go of my resistances enough so that Your joy can erupt in me and through my relationships!

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