Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!
Have you heard about this great new idea of “laughter clubs?” In 1995, a doctor in India learned that intentionally laughing—even when the joke isn’t funny—actually relaxes you, boosts the immune system, relieves anxiety and depression, and improves heart conditions.
There are now more than 5,000 laughter clubs around the world, where people gather to do some breathing exercises and then create gales of laughter. What is remarkable is that the immune system can’t distinguish between this created laughter and laughter that is brought on by something you naturally find funny.
Today, every reading for this Third Sunday of Advent says, “Shout for joy, cry out with gladness, rejoice in the Lord!” You might think, “The world’s a mess; my life is a disaster, and God is nowhere. How am I supposed to rejoice?” The Scriptures can tell us “Be glad and exult with all our hearts…fear not, don’t be discouraged” because there is a much deeper reality in our lives that we must acknowledge in order to be set free from fear.
Just because we don’t always personally feel God’s presence doesn’t mean there is not a reason to hope. While we wait, we don’t’ always feel like laughing, because we are living in the midst of a world destroyed by sin and death. Yes, it can be hard to trust God’s “other plans.” But it’s a bit like laughing until we realize we really do have something to laugh about!
While we wait Jesus tells us how to live in peace: share your food and clothing; don’t be a bully, or a gossip; be an honest and peaceful person and deal fairly with others. In the midst of the chaos, keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, until you can say, like the Psalmist, “I am confident and unafraid.”
“Just as the Virgin Mother pondered in her heart the Word made flesh, so every individual soul and the entire Church are called during their earthly pilgrimage to wait for Christ who comes—and to welcome him with faith and love ever new.” (Pope Benedict XVI). May you have a good week and may God bless and love you, and may Mary watch over you and keep you always in God’s loving care during these remaining days of Advent and always!
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish