Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes 5:16-18)
Rejoice! That is the keyword today — Gaudete Sunday — the Third Sunday of Advent. The name of the Sunday comes to us from the Latin, Gaudete (Rejoice), at the psalm response of today’s Mass.
Advent is a penitential season that prepares us for the celebration of Christmas. In this season, we heed the call of the prophets to Prepare the Way of the Lord. One of the ways that we do that is to address the often woefully sinful state of our souls.
Focusing upon our sin can “bring us down”. It can make the season begin to drag. The Third Sunday can feel like the Thirtieth Sunday as we look toward Christmas.
God does not want us to be down. He wants us to know that we can have the peace and joy that only He can bring. The Church does not want us down, either. It wants us to be cheerful and helps us to do so by “breaking up” the season with Gaudete Sunday — Rejoice!
Are we in the midst of a penitential season? Yes. Do we need to examine ourselves to see what sins are keeping us from our God? Yes. However, the reason we do so is so that we can embrace the joy that the Lord has in store for each and every one of us.
The Lord is coming in majesty. He comes to rule His people. He comes to bring all people to Himself. When He does, we shall know the salvation that comes to us by our God. That, alone, is great reason to rejoice!
FAITH ACTION: The Lord does great things for us. In quiet prayer today, bring to mind the favors God has bestowed upon your or your loved ones and take the time not only to rejoice in His favors but to thank God for them.