Unworthy and Joyous
December 6, 2022
Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice!
This Sunday, we once again encounter John the Baptist. He is apparently an important figure on our path! Recall that the saints are not distant, pious persons on pedestals, examples of virtue beyond the reach of us ordinary people. The saints are divine friends actively journeying with us.
As those of us familiar with our tradition know, John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus. John is wholly other-centered. Indeed, last Sunday, we were told, This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness.’ The Voice, not the talent show, but the precursor, forerunner, the last of the prophets, wholly other-centered.
In John the Baptist, we see the attitude of heart that we are to have if we really want to experience how awesome Jesus is: a sense of our unworthiness. Indeed, similar to what John says, I am not worthy to carry his sandals, at every Mass we say, “Lord I am not worthy to that thou shouldest come under my roof…” (Matthew 8:8). This is not an act of self-deprecation, but a happy acknowledgement of how perfect Jesus is, i.e. how unconditional and generous is His love.
Beyond or deeper than the decorating, shopping, baking, visiting and the “already”-Christmas parties (!), such a sense is the right preparation for Christmas. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to awaken this in us. Interior freedom, awe and joy will follow. This is Gaudete Sunday (always the third Sunday of Advent), “rejoice” Sunday. Our joyous Lord gratuitously comes to us in our unworthiness, and we rejoice.
Yours in the Lord of joy,
THE REV. DOMINIQUE PERIDANS