The season of joy

By: Fr. Jerry M. Orbos SVD - @inquirerdotnet - Columnist/Philippine Daily Inquirer | December 11,2022 - 08:00 AM

Who is the most relaxed driver in the world? The driver of the funeral car. Why? He is not in a hurry. He can take his time because his passenger has all the time. And, he has no backseat driver!

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Today, the third Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of JOY. Today, we rejoice (Laetare!) because the Lord is near. In the face of sorrows, empathy, and uncertainties, we believe, trust, and surrender everything and everyone to our loving God and Father.

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 11:2-22), we hear about John the Baptist, who unlike the funeral car driver in our story, was in a hurry to prepare the way for his passenger, who is alive and is about to arrive. May we, too, be filled with joyful expectation as we prepare for the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, the reason for the Christmas season. Amidst the buzz and the rush, may we have hearts that are filled with peace, hope, and joy.

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One of the things that I learned from Papa and Mama is to keep looking up, especially when times are hard. Papa and Mama were Advent persons who continued to make way for peace, joy, hope in our lives with their deep faith and trust in God. They did not have much, but they were generous in giving us their smile, their nod of approval, jokes, and words of encouragement.

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“Don’t take yourself too seriously.” Good advice, especially to those who become proud of their natural endowments and material blessings and achievements. Hello! All these are from the Lord. They can be all gone in one flick of a finger. Humility is the key to set us free from many sorrows, stress, and anxieties that come with our attachments to our worldly blessings. God is the source of all our blessings.

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“Don’t take yourself too seriously.” Good advice, too, especially when we are burdened by life’s problems. There is a God, remember? And He promised that He will be with us always and in all ways! “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest; take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Mt. 11:28-29)

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Remember the story about a poor farmer who went to a hospital to have his foot treated? Nobody paid attention to him because of his humble appearance. Finally, he approached a nurse, and when he made his request, the nurse shouted at him: “Don’t you know who I am? I am the head nurse in this hospital. How dare you tell me to treat your foot?” Whereupon the farmer humbly said: “Sorry po … I will look for the foot nurse of the hospital then.” How complicated and burdened are the rich, the powerful, the proud, and arrogant of this world!

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Below are the prayers that lead to peaceful and joyful lives. If you can say these prayers sincerely in your heart, then you are free, you have peace and joy in your life.

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LORD, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING. If you can thank the Lord for everything that has happened or is happening in your life, good or bad, happy or sad, then you have peace, freedom, and joy in your heart.

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LORD, TAKE CARE OF EVERYONE. We entrust our loved ones unto the Lord. Even our enemies and persecutors, we ask the Lord to take care of them and we are set free.

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LORD, THY WILL BE DONE. Many of our wishes and plans don’t happen, but we just accept God’s will and plan. Trust in God sets us free. 

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LORD, MY LIFE IS IN YOUR HANDS. This is a declaration that our life does not depend on our wealth, power, connections, but on God, who is our creator and provider.

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A moment with our Lord:Lord, help us to be joy makers, not joy killers. Amen.

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TAGS: Advent, humility, John the Baptist, Joy, Mt. 11:2-22, third Sunday

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