Zeph 3:14-18a; Isaiah 12:2-6; Phil 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18.

Turning Over Stones

Here are some stones I have overturned to see what ideas are underneath. I hope you can grab hold of something, pull -- and discover that it has some homiletic roots.

This third weekend of Advent is reserved for the theme of JOY. Words such as JOY, REJOICE, JOYFULLY, SING, SHOUT, and CRY OUT will be heard nearly 30 times with 6 exclamation points to boot.

We are told to shout for joy, to sing joyfully, to cry out with gladness, to exult with all our hearts, to not be discouraged, to have no anxiety and to fear nothing.

Great words to hear. Great words to pray over.

What always catches my attention on this particular Sunday is the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians. In the 62 words we hear from him this week, it is clear that Paul is filled with irrepressible joy and peace. What is more, he is filled with gratitude.

Why does this catch my attention? It is simply this. Paul is NOT writing these words to the Philippians while he lounges in the sun on a topical beach with sand in between his toes. Rather Paul is writing from a Roman prison, under guard, where his life is in imminent danger.

So here is the question? Why the joy? Why the peace? Why the gratitude? Why are these things impenetrable by the setting in which Paul finds himself?

Paul knew that the Lord was near; and Paul knew that his mind and heart were guarded by the peace of God.

On this Third Sunday of Advent let us pray for this kind of joy, this kind of peace, and this kind of gratitude. Let us pray that we truly feel that the Lord is near. Let us pray that our hearts and minds are guarded by the peace of God.

Personal stories of how hardships were unable to penetrate moments of peace and joy can be inserted to develop this theme.

Sorry about the brevity of this homily skeleton; I hope it is a help. See you next week.

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