On this Gaudete Sunday , I am quoting the Epistle from St.John's Roman Missal for every day. The theme of this mornings Mass was Gladness at the nearness of the coming of our Saviour.
Rejoyce ye, for the Lord is nigh ( Phillippians 4, verses 4-7)
Brethren: Joy to you in the Lord at all times: once again I wish you joy. Give proof
of all your courtesay. The Lord is near . Nothing need make you anxious: in every need make your requests known unto God, praying and beseeching Him thanks as well. So may the peace of God, which surpasses all our thinking, watch over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
After the first two more solemn Sundays in Advent, where we are required to watch and pray and focus on the coming of Christ, now a Sunday called Gaudete ( rejoyce ). I even wore a more colourfull ( rose ) vestment to say Mass this morning.
There were a number of events in my life in the past week which were sad. They come especially during a time where we are preparing for the joy of Christmas and the joy of the coming of our Saviour. First we said goodbye to President Bush, a true and faithfull servant of his country, but also of his Lord. Then here in our Church Community we say good bye to our Bishop Ordinary +John Benedict of the Phillipines, who suddenly passed away, a true and faithful servant of our God, so deeply loved by all his people and our Church as a whole. Then a few days ago, I shared in my neighbour's grief, her daughter had ovarian cancer
and as she does not believe in Christ, she was inconsolable. I was comforted by the fact that her daughter was a believer but also very concerned for her. George Bush and Bishop John Benedict will be safe in the arms of Jesus, they will see the Lord face to face , quicker then those, who still wait for His coming again.
Now coming back to my neighbour. C.S.Lewis once stated the atheists quickly fire the question " why does our God allow suffering". I was trying to explain to her with the limited amount time I had, then we need to learn and understand all about Jesus, as in in the beginning of time all things were good. Then came the fall and
consequently man is subject to sickness and suffering. And this is where the wonder of Christmas comes in, God gave us His only begotten Son, to be born as a child in a manger in great humility to live among us and later to die for our Sins on the Cross. Through His resurrection from the dead there is hope for us all, no matter our circumstances.
Take the opportunity to get to know Jesus, then your tears will turn into joy.
Confess that Jesus is Lord and you shall have life eternal.
Father Ed Bakker,
Priest and Missioner,
Saint Aidan's Anglican Catholic Mission
Launceston on Tasmania