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Sunday, December 14

December 14, 2014

Today is the Third Sunday in Advent.
The third Sunday is known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means rejoice. It is more than halfway through Advent, and is noted as a special time of celebration and anticipation as Christmas draws nearer. If you have made an Advent wreath, light two of the blue candles and the rose-colored candle starting today.
All this week, when you gather at table to pray, light those three candles.

About Advent

Scripture for Today

Recently a young woman asked me if I believed that her recently deceased grandmother, who was a Buddhist, had gone to heaven. My answer to that was that God’s love is immeasurable, and if we believe what our Hebrew and Christian scriptures tell us about God, then it’s certain that she has. She seemed reassured and comforted by that, and I was glad to be able to help.

But what stayed with me afterwards was a feeling of sadness. How much energy and effort we waste worrying about whether or not we or the ones we love are good enough or have done all the right things. How did we get to this place of constant anxiety? What purpose is served by teaching people to live their lives in fear, rather than in confident hope in the great love and mercy of God?

I do not know the answer to that, but I do know that that message of fear and anxiety permeates our culture today. It is not the gospel of Christ.

Those who preach it are lying.

Our love and good works are a response to God’s love, not a labor we perform under duress in order to earn our way into that love.

May all beings be filled with joy and peace.  
May all beings everywhere,  
The strong and the weak,  
The great and the small,  
The mean and the powerful,  
The short and the long,  
the subtle and the gross:  

May all beings everywhere,  
Seen and unseen,  
Dwelling far off or nearby,  
Being or waiting to become:  
May all be filled with lasting joy.  

Let no one deceive another,  
Let no one anywhere despise another,  
Let no one out of anger or resentment  
Wish suffering on anyone at all.  

Just as a mother with her own life
Protects her child, her only child, from harm,  
So within yourself let grow  
A boundless love for all creatures.  

Let your love flow outward through the universe,  
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,  
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.  

Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,  
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;  
Your life will bring heaven to earth.

Buddhist Metta Prayer

–Baya Clare CSJ