Gaudete Sunday - Rejoice
Hope and joy are sister virtues, at least as they
relate to Gaudete Sunday. These two virtues are
acclaimed in our entrance antiphon, they pervade
our worship, and they are what makes this third
Sunday of Advent unique. Represented in rose-
colored vestments, a rose-colored candle, the tone
of the readings, and even the Eucharistic prayer,
hope and joy are central to this Sunday. We are
called to “Rejoice in the Lord always; I say again
rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)
Gaudete Sunday transfuses the sense of hope
in all of us who profess faith in Jesus Christ and
it especially offers hope to those who have
experienced a challenging year. I know any
holiday season, and Christmas in particular, can be
difficult for those unable to be with their families.
On my part, I know this year I will miss being with
my nieces and nephews, according to whom I am
THE Santa Claus! Indeed, my childhood memories
bring me to my grandmother’s house, sitting under
a live tree for a grand fiesta of Christmas dinner.
My grandfather would always buy enough sodas
for everyone! My mom who worked in a distant
town came home during Christmas so the four
weeks leading to Christmas were a real waiting
for me. My grandparents’ dog would bark at
any strange figure appearing in the distance, and
when the dog barked and from a distance I saw
my mom approaching, I knew Christmas was here.
It was truly a day of rejoicing!
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one within
the past year, you will now experience the first
Christmas without that person. Be assured of the
condolences and prayers of your fellow parishioners.
Perhaps the words of St Paul, “Rejoice in hope, be
patient under trial, persevere in prayer” (Romans
12:12) will soothe your hearts and souls and
enable you to embrace hope and joy as you
await the fulfillment of the miracle of Christmas.
As you know, the word “advent” means the coming,
arrival, or presence of a significant person. For us,
that person is our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus will come
bearing gifts (even though it is His birthday party),
and His gifts will not be from a merchant but
bestowed upon our hearts! He asks only that
we share them with others. The main reason for
rejoicing at Christmastime is in our recognition that
He has already come into our world—God is here
(adventus in Latin).
In our hearts, we find such sentiments as gratitude,
thoughtfulness, kindness, love, trust in God,
optimism, and peace, all of which represent the
main source of joy intended for the third Sunday
of Advent—Gaudete Joy! So look in your hearts!
The joy can come from memory, from present
relationships, from helping someone in need or
from all of these. In the news this week was a
story of a man who gave up his first class seat in
a plane to a woman in economy class struggling
with a child! Both the woman and the man
expressed joy! Closer to home, I received
donations which helped pay for the digging of a
borehole for some five families in rural Kenya so
that, for the first time this Christmas, they will use
fresh, clean water for drinking, cooking, and
irrigating small farms that will provide food for the
rest of their lives! That is a source of joy! Certainly
in receiving, we rejoice! In giving, we also rejoice!
Finally, I invite you to experience the joy of
God’s mercy and forgiveness in the Sacrament of
Reconciliation. This coming Tuesday, December 18
at 7:00pm, we will pray, sing, listen to Scripture
readings, reflect, and make individual confessions.
More than sixteen priests will be available to
hear confessions so you will have your choice of
confessor with little or no waiting. I encourage
you to celebrate Christmas having received the
gift of forgiveness!
May God bless you and your family.
With you a Christian, for you a priest