Rejoice. Rejoice in poverty for it is all around. Rejoice in homelessness for many are without shelter. Rejoice in death for some are left orphaned. Rejoice in AIDS for it causes great suffering. The 2nd reading tells us “Rejoice always.”
When some people see poverty they see laziness; when they see a homeless man they see a drunk; when they see AIDS they see irresponsibility. As an AV, past or present, our eyes have been opened. God has given us the gift to see beyond the stereotypes and unveil the mask of poverty, homelessness, death, AIDS; and sitting behind the injustice and sorrow is a man, a woman, a child, a human being. That God has chosen you, just as he chose John to baptize, is something to rejoice in. He has handpicked you to be an instrument of His love. Do not take despair in what is not present (food, shelter, health), but rather rejoice in what is present: You, and your student, client, co-worker, patient, or friend. Rejoice in the relationships and bonds that have formed; rejoice that you are willing and capable of sharing stories, laughter, tears, hugs, hands, of sharing your love with another.
Sure, it’s a daunting task to feel all happy and glad when constantly faced with situations we can’t understand, but we must look a little deeper and open our eyes a little wider.
And so “Rejoice always:” in the opportunity to help a hungry child read or have a conversation with a struggling mother of three; in sharing a meal with a lonely stranger; in a life lived and a soul that becomes an angel; in unwavering faith and hope despite desperate situations. And do not stop rejoicing; and do not keep the soul-filled moments of rejoicing to yourself. For your eyes have been opened, but many are still blind. What a blessing it is to have the responsibility granted by God to reach out, take the hand of someone who does not see behind the mask of injustice and show them what it means to rejoice in the goodness of humanity of all God’s precious people. This Advent and always, Rejoice.
AV Alum, Lawrence 04-05, South Africa 05-07