Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgements against you,
he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall fear disaster no more.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.
The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will renew you* in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
as on a day of festival.*
I will remove disaster from you,*
so that you will not bear reproach for it.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
As Christmas approaches, the Church’s message through the Readings is: Rejoice!
Zepheniah exhorts us: Sing aloud … Rejoice and exult with all your heart! Paul, in Philippians states: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Yet we might ask: Rejoice? Now? Ecological crisis looming; people all over the world forcibly seeking refuge; 30,000 or so infants dying daily from preventable causes; thousands of abortions daily; rampant violence; massive storage of nuclear arms. Rejoice?
Prophets see beyond and deeper than what’s in front of us. Isaiah tells us in the psalm: The Lord, your God, is in your midst.
Can we experience this in the now, along with major crises?
John the Baptist admonishes soldiers, tax collectors, others – us – to strive for God’s justice, to build the Kingdom. Share! Do not extort! Be honest! Be Christ-like and leave control and the outcome to God! Hope in the Lord, and … rejoice!
—Fr. Rafael Garcia, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits Central and Southern Province. He serves as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in El Paso, Texas, where he ministers to people who are migrants and refugees.
Loving God, as I labor in your vineyard, it’s often hard to rejoice. Only with your Grace can I see beyond the immediate suffering. Give me that Grace and the Joy to await and again celebrate Emmanuel.
—Fr. Rafael Garcia, SJ
Please share the Good Word with your friends!