Gaudete Sunday

Gaudete Sunday

by Lisa Fernandes

Today we celebrate the third Sunday of Advent also known as Gaudete Sunday or Rejoice Sunday. Advent generally is a time for us to prepare and make way for Christ’s coming. In the Gospel we read about John and his role in this important event when he says: “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’” (John 1.23) On Gaudete Sunday we are rejoicing because our preparation is almost done. As the first reading says: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall exult in my God;…” (Isaiah 61.10) Advent is also a time of new beginnings and is the start of each new liturgical year. I recently heard a comparison between Advent and the wait for the birth of a child. Parents are nervous and anxious; they are unprepared even amid their joy when awaiting the birth of a child. In the same way, in Advent we are happy to remember the birth of Christ and await his coming again, but at the same time we are anxious; we are not prepared and have not reconciled our sins with God. In our family we have many different kinds of advent calendars and candles to mark the countdown including secular ones – a hand painted wooden tree with ornaments added each day, one with chocolates (of course) and a candle with 24 days of December marked. Most importantly, though, we have a traditional Advent Wreath with three purple candles and one pink one. The purple ones can be seen as representing sacrifice. Today on Gaudete Sunday, we will be lighting the pink one which reminds us of the joy among our more solemn preparation from the past couple of weeks. Each candle that is lit brings more light into the darkness. During this time of year, let’s reflect on the spiritual preparation of the season as well as the secular preparation for feasts and gift buying and try to be Christian towards others as we deal with holiday crowds! As Catholics we can focus and pray upon some of the themes of Advent like hope and anticipation, peace, joy and love even though at times the world seems to be lacking these. Perhaps we can remember that Christ’s birth is the greatest gift of all.

Sunday’s Readings:

Isaiah 61.1-2a, 10-11

Luke 1

1 Thessalonians 5.16-24

John 1.6-8, 19-28