Pope Francis on Sunday invited the faithful to rejoice of a joy that is not ‘superficial’ or purely ‘emotional,’ of a joy that is not that of ‘worldliness’ or ‘consumerism’, but an authentic joy that touches us deeply as we await the coming of Jesus.
The Pope’s catechesis on the third Sunday of Advent, which is also called ‘Gaudete Sunday,’ focused on the invitation of St. Paul to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.”
Speaking to the crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope said the announcement of Salvation changes everything: “the desert blooms, consolation and joy pervade our hearts.”
And quoting from the Gospel of Matthew: “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them,” Francis said “these are not words, but facts” and they demonstrate how salvation, brought by Jesus regenerates us.
So, he said, we are called to join in with this feeling of exultation permeating the liturgy for Gaudete Sunday, pointing out that as Christmas approaches its signs “are evident on our streets and in our homes.”
“These external signs” of Christmas, the Pope continued, “invite us to welcome the Lord who always comes and knocks on our door,” and also to recognize Jesus in the poor and needy we encounter.
Highlighting the fact that a Christian who is not joyful is lacking in something, Pope Francis said “today we are invited to rejoice in the imminent coming of our Redeemer; and we are called to share this joy with others, giving comfort and hope to the poor, the sick, the lonely and the unhappy.”