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Rejoice, help the needy

IN a class on homiletics (preaching), the professor emphasized the importance of making the facial expression harmonize with the homily. “When you speak of Heaven,” he said, “let your face light up with a heavenly gleam; let your eyes shine with glory. But when you speak of Hell – your ordinary face will do.”

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“Rejoice,” “be joyful,” (Gaudete) is the message of this 3rd Sunday of Advent. That’s why the liturgical color is pink.

With the birth of Christ the Messiah, the Sunday tells us to be “joyful in hope” because the Messiah has already redeemed us when he came in that momentous first Christmas event.

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In this Gaudete Sunday, Jesus is telling us, too, that our joyful Christmas should be translated into concrete acts of Christian love. When Jesus was asked by one of the followers of John the Baptist who was imprisoned by King Herod: “Are you the real Messiah?”

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Jesus’ reply was: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see; the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor” (Mt 11, 4-5).

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These are the concrete, tangible signs whereby people will be able to recognize the true Messiah. This is a fulfillment of the messianic prophecy of Isaiah, the prophet (Read Is 35,6).

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John the Baptist, the Messiah’s herald who went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming the coming of Christ, was asked for guidance: “What must we do then?” (Lk 3,10).

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The Baptist’s answer was simple and direct. “If anyone has two tunics, he must share with the man who has none. And the one who has something to eat must do the same” (Lk 3,11). Then, to those who were using their positions of power to exploit, cheat and intimidate people, John said, “No more!”

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In other words, “faith alone” in God is not enough. Faith should bear fruit in active works of love (cf. Gal 5,6).

The outpouring of sympathy, solidarity, and assistance to victims of typhoons like the super-typhoon “Yolanda” is a clear manifestation of faith in action.

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We should, however, manifest that Christian attitude not just when there are calamities or dramatic situations but also in the little day-to-day acts.

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As we move closer to Christmas, let’s put into action our words. For instance, visit a sick friend or relative; contribute some amount for the support of orphanages and houses of the handicapped. You may also donate to our indigent sick we’re supporting and “Adopt A Seminarian” scholarship for seminarians coming from poor families.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. In this joyous season of merrymaking and endless Christmas parties, remember this commandment:

“Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.”

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God Gets 100. An ill-prepared college student taking an economics exam just before Christmas vacation wrote on his paper, “Only God knows the answers to these questions!”

The professor graded the papers and wrote this note: “God gets 100, you get 0. Merry Christmas!”
(Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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