Today we celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent, often referred to as Gaudete Sunday. This term, derived from Latin, means ‘rejoice’, or ‘to feel or show great joy or delight.’ As Catholics we rejoice as the celebration of Jesus’ birth draws ever closer. We rejoice that God, our Creator, loves us so much that He sends His only begotten Son to be with us and to conquer evil.

In today’s reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians, we are told to rejoice and show kindness to all because the Lord is near. He encourages us to let go of anxiety and abide in the overwhelming peace of Jesus that will guard our hearts and minds. These are not just words, but deliberate instructions regarding what we should be doing every day.

How often do we at Catholic Charities find ourselves feeling anxious about funding or about a struggling ministry? Do you worry that there are so many needs and so few resources? What to do? St. Paul makes it clear – “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”

Working at Catholic Charities of Central Florida is truly a blessing. As a staff we seek God’s guidance consistently to help us know who to help, when to help, and how to help. He guides and directs us and, in the process, brings peace to our efforts and joy to our hearts as we see the impact of our simple presence in the life of someone seeking our assistance. We are encouraged to embrace Jesus Christ and the peace that can only come from Him and to share that peace, through kindness, in all things. Rejoice and find peace in the good works we do!

By Gary Tester, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Central Florida – December 16, 2018