How can we speak of rejoicing in the midst of so much sorrow, when so many families are grieving the loss of their loved ones, many parents experiencing the sorrow, too deep for words, that fills the heart when an innocent child is killed.
Yes, today is Gaudete (Latin for ‘rejoice’) Sunday, named for the first word of the Introit at Mass: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice, indeed the Lord is near. Phil 4:4-5
The Epistle for today tells us more:
Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:4-7
The Lord is near.
The Church gives us this moment of joyful expectation in the midst of the penitence of Advent, saying, “Be joyful, our God is almost here! He will soon be here in the flesh.”
And for those who weep, He is also very near; in fact, He is closer than ever. When we mourn, Jesus shares our grief with us. The loss of a child, especially a young child, is a sorrow too heavy to bear alone. Our Lord wants very much to help shoulder the burden of our sufferings – it is why He took on human flesh, to sanctify and redeem our fallen world, which truly is a vale of tears. Loss and grief have a way of making us feel so very alone, but in truth we are not alone, Jesus Christ is with us. Those who weep do not have to wait for His coming, He is already at your side.