Ah, yes, “La Vie en Rose”! (Literally translated: “Life in the Pink!”)
This Sunday is Gaudete Sunday, and our responsorial antiphon beautifully expresses the theme and the mood:
Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
It is in Luke’s Gospel today that John The Baptist gives us the cause of our joy and gladness as he declares: One mightier than I is coming…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. And in answer to those who asked The Baptist, “So what should we do?” he gives a list of “To Do’s” that inspires his listeners to wonder if he is the Christ:
Share your cloak with one who has none.
Whoever has food, do likewise.
Stop collecting more than is wise.
Do not practice extortion.
Do not falsely accuse anyone.
Be satisfied with your wages.
Well, where is the joy and gladness in all of that? The answer is in the freedom that comes from Christian detachment. It is the rush of wellbeing and inner peace (the “high” if you will) that accompanies “loving the other as other unconditionally.” It is the rejoicing a person experiences in simply knowing that he or she has been the instrument of God’s love. And great satisfaction is found in one’s own redemption and salvation, knowing truly that our investment has been made in “the things of heaven” rather than the things of earth. This is what St. Paul is speaking of (2nd reading), when he says, “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
So let us continue together our final days of journey to Bethlehem. And as we sense the joy of nearing the birthday of all birthdays, we should keep in mind that such joy and gladness found in us—and then shared—can be the most powerful form of evangelization.