The third Sunday of Advent is called “Rejoice Sunday.” Saint Paul says in the second reading: “Rejoice in the Lord always.” We rejoice because God is in our midst and God hears our prayers. During the Advent Season, we are eagerly waiting and preparing for the coming of Jesus this Christmas. We must renew our commitment as Christians to reach out to others by loving and humble services, especially to the poor and marginalized. In today’s Gospel, we heard that the crowd asked a very sensible question to John the Baptist, “What must we do, then?” We should ask this question ourselves as we are preparing for the coming of Jesus this Christmas. John the Baptist is telling each of us to renew our hearts and whoever has two coats must share with someone who has none. If one has food to eat, he must share with the hungry and poor.

Let me share with you a story: Once there were two brothers working on their farms. The older brother was married and had children. The younger brother was not married and he was living alone. Both had their own separate rice farms. In one particular year, they had a wonderful harvest. The elder brother thought that since he had a wife and children, in his future life, they will look after him if he needs anything. Therefore, he wanted to share the rice, which he had in surplus, with his younger brother. The younger brother thought that since he was alone and his brother has a wife and children, in the future, he would need more support. Therefore, he wanted to share with his brother the rice he received more this year. During the night, the elder brother took a portion of rice, and put it into the brother’s storehouse. The younger brother also took some of his portion of rice and brought it to the elder brother’s storehouse. They both did the same thing for several nights but they noticed that even though they were sharing the rice every time, they were not losing anything from their storehouses. During one night, they both were carrying rice and met each other and only at that time, they realized why from their storehouses they did not lose anything. They dropped their sacks and hugged each other!

This simple story tell us when we share with each other, nothing will be lost. We can share not only money or material things but we can share our own times, talents, gifts, and blessings. When we share, we will get more and we experience joy, happiness, and peace!

Whatever we have in our lives, if we do not have real happiness, joy, and peace, our lives are nothing. This happens only through our close connection with Jesus and by witnessing joy and peace with others. If we really want happiness, joy, and peace in our lives, let us listen to the voice of John the Baptist and experience the real light…Jesus… in our hearts. Jesus is the real light, who can give us real happiness, peace, and joy. If we can be filled with Jesus’ light in our lives, we can give real light to others.

During this Advent Season, let us make the important choice to permit God to bless us and to fill us with a new sense of hope and purposeful living. The joy of Christmas can only be ours to the extent that we work with Jesus, to bring joy into the lives of others. Let us remember that Christmas is not complete unless we show generosity to those, who have nothing to give us in return. In our own lifetimes, St. Mother Teresa is a great example because she brought blessings and joy to the poor, sick, and forgotten on the streets. Once, someone asked the source of her joy; Mother Teresa replied: “Joy is prayer – joy is strength – joy is love – joy is a net of love….”