4th Sunday of Advent – Leap for Joy


Study:  Where do you find joy in your life?  How can you foster joy in your heart?

Pray:  Is there something in your heart that is suffering?  Ask the Lord to touch and bless your concerns.

Serve:  How can you bring joy to others?  How can you share Christ’s love with someone in need?

4th Sunday of Advent Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

The encounter between two pregnant women – Mary & Elizabeth – reveals the Good News of Jesus Christ even while he was still in the womb.  Elizabeth carries her son John, a child blessed to her and her husband Zechariah in their old age.  The infant “leaped for joy” in the womb of his mother Elizabeth when Mary (and Jesus) drew near.

I like the phrase “leaped for joy” on many levels:

  • It flows directly from our notion of the Good News of Christ.
  • It speaks to a deep longing in our hearts.
  • It wakes us up to the power and beauty of life right here and now.
  • It challenges us to reconnect with joy, especially when we feel joyless.

Friends, Christmas is just around the corner…are we ready?  I’m not talking about shopping, travel plans, or food preparation – I’m talking about our hearts.  Are we ready to welcome Jesus Christ into our hearts…with JOY?

It is easy to get caught up in the distractions and stresses of life.  Life carries its own challenges, and if we are struggling with added pressure, worry, anxiety and fear it can seem overwhelming.  Sometimes we can empathize with Ebenezer Scrooge!

Yet the Gospel message transforms the listener.  Christ comes into our world to bridge the gap caused by sin.  We have the promise of new life!  Thus, in the remaining days to Christmas, I suggest the following:

  1. Cultivate gratitude for the blessings of your life.
  2. Take time for daily prayer, and offer your deepest needs to the Lord.
  3. Give yourself permission to savor the beauty and delight of the season.
  4. Make an effort to connect with loved ones…and possibly seek reconciliation with enemies.

When Christmas comes will be able to welcome the Christ child with joy?  May this last week of Advent give us the time and opportunity we need to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord.

About Fr. Andrew Ricci

A Catholic priest since 1997, Fr. Andrew Ricci is currently the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI. His website "Three Great Things" can be found at studyprayserve.com and his podcasts can be found under "Catholic Inspiration" in the iTunes store. View all posts by Fr. Andrew Ricci

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