READINGS: Zephaniah 3:14-18a; Isaiah 12:2-6; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18

Gaudete Sunday of AdventShout for joy, O Daughter Zion! Fear not, be not discouraged! Your kindness should be known to all; have no anxiety at all.

When fear overrides our good fortune, and terror by night and by day shrinks our courage, this shouting for joy seems too much to expect. But let there be hope.

When vileness spews hatred from social media, when violence seems stronger than freedom’s zeal, vengeance for threats sounds like bravery. This call to Daughter Zion seems shocking: “Cry out with joy and gladness.” My own first reaction is: “You gotta be kidding!”

But a flashback to childhood recalls a booklet about “Little Nellie of Holy God,” a little girl who knew and proclaimed Jesus as “Holy God” in the midst of those in the orphanage. Her happiness was contagious. After her death her story, it is said, moved Pope Pius X to lower the age for first communion.

I remember her as we hear in today’s scripture readings: “Your kindness should be known to all; the LORD is near! Have no anxiety at all.” Isaiah urges: “Shout with exultation…great in your midst is the Holy One.”

“What should we do?” said the crowds around John the Baptist.

What should we do? If you have what you need, share with those others in need.
Got enough to eat? Share groceries and goodies, potatoes and meat.
Government employees: no under-the-table quirks; give true value in your works.
Journalists, reporters, editors, announcers: forget the hype, give us real truth.
Military, security, police: don’t abuse your authority or flaunt your seniority.

“Be satisfied with your wages.” [THAT’S the joke of the ages!] Put people before profit. Yes, John was a prophet who preached good news to people who were filled with expectations, all asking in their hearts: is this the Christ?

What is your heart asking now? Let the Star of Morning light your way. REJOICE.

–Sister Eileen T. Kelly, SC

Sister Eileen is a teacher who served for many years in New York and in the Bahamas.