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Today is Gaudete Sunday, which means rejoice. We are rejoicing today. I am sure you have heard before, but the early church fathers spoke of three Advents. The first Advent was Jesus coming to us in the flesh, which happened 2,000 years ago. The second Advent is waiting for him to come to us now in the present moment. The third Advent is when he will come again at the end of time. What I would like to focus on is the Advent at the end of time.

There is a movie (since we are here in a movie theatre) that came out a few years ago called “The Bucket List,” and it stars Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.

The basic story of the bucket list is that the two of them had terminal cancer, and they ended up in the same room together. They were both dying. Morgan Freeman starts coming up with a bucket list filled with his own ideas. He lists things that he wants to do before he dies.

When Jack Nicholson discovers this, he starts adding his own things to this bucket list that are a little bit wilder like skydiving, getting tattoos and things like that. They decide that they are going to do the bucket list together. They are going to do all these things they want to do before the end of their life.

There is a scene where they go to Egypt and see the pyramids. They can cross off the bucket list seeing the pyramids. Jack Nicholson says, “We can cross two off because we are seeing something magnificent too.”

They begin talking, and Morgan Freeman has all of these classic lines that he says. He says, “The ancient Egyptians believed that when you got to the afterlife – before you can go to heaven – there would be two questions that would be asked of you.” These are the two questions: Have you found joy in your life?

So then he looks at Jack Nicholson and says, “Have you?” I want you for a second to think about that. Have you found joy in your life? He lets him think about that for a moment, and then he says, “The second question is did you bring joy to others? Did you bring joy to others?” You observe Jack Nicholson get really uncomfortable with that one because he is not a very joyful person in the movie.

I think those are really very good questions to ask ourselves this season of Advent. Have we discovered joy in our lives, and do we bring joy to other people? I might ask you to focus on this the rest of this Advent season: discovering joy and bringing joy to others.

The first reading talks about the end of life when we all come together again. It says, “Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.” That is an image for us of heaven: a place of eternal joy.

This Advent is a time for us to prepare to experience joy ourselves and to become joy for others. Have you experienced joy? Have you brought joy to others?


  • Nancy Deal says:

    Thank you Father. We all need to hear that message and keep it in our heart and minds. God Bless you and I pray I will hear these messages from you more often.

  • Florai says:

    knowing JESUS brings
    me joy. I pray that he uses me to ring joy to others.

  • Linda Garcia says:

    Yes. I have brought joy to others.I pray that Father God’s essesse

    nce is placed upon me and that where I go and home ever I hug will receive some of God’s essence an be filled with the Holy Spirit’s gifts and fruits.

  • Maria C.H. Lin says:

    this is a thoughtful homily. At the end of life, many things come to mind. I had loving parents and siblings. Then I met Robert. He loved me and I loved him. We had a good life together. The only regret was, he was not converted to my faith, Catholicism. I thank God for His blessings and grace. At this moment, I am ready to join my Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in Heaven. May I pass His judgment.

  • Nancy Deal says:

    Father Michael,
    I want to thank you for this message. I plan to send it to my Son Tim. He lives in California and does not go to church so the only church time he gets is when I send a message from our church. I am happy to hear from him every time he responds and thanks me for the messages from you. Please pray for him so he finally gets the message. His name is Tim Deal.