Gaudete Sunday

12-12-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Bing Colasito

The third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete Sunday” or the “Sunday of Joy.” The pink candle in the advent wreath is lit today as a symbol of joyful anticipation of the coming of Christ in glory and commemoration of his first coming in Bethlehem on Christmas Day.

The readings and the psalms all focus on the joy we experience anticipating the birth of the savior. It calls us to be joyful in the Lord always. Those in deep sorrow, the prophet Zephaniah exhorts them still to rejoice. St. Paul’s 2nd Letter to the Philippians is likewise an invitation to be joyful and glad for the Lord will come soon, and he will remove all fears from their hearts. The Gospel invites us to walk the path of righteousness and love, do this, and there will be great rejoicing.

The coming of Christ brings great joy and gladness because of the good news of our salvation. Let us carry the good news in our hearts and the joy that comes from it. As Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel” says: “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew.” Our everyday encounter with Christ himself gives us so many reasons to rejoice. He is a friend and brother, a savior, and a God who will stay with us and journey with us towards the Father.

This Gaudete Sunday, let us resolve to always be joyful in the Lord. There are trials and difficulties, but God is above all these. Christ will come to bring forth renewal and justice in the land. Christ will come to wash away our tears and bring happiness to those who are in the path of justice and peace. Let us rejoice and be glad!

Advent is not just about preparation by repentance and penance; but also, about joy and hope. Gaudete Sunday is a day of rejoicing. Let us be hopeful and joyful because someone greater and mightier than you and I is coming to be with us until the end of time. As John the Baptist reminds us that there is someone greater than us: “One mightier than I is coming.” The earlier we accept the truth that we are weak mortals, the easier we can conquer our illusions of greatness and might. Remember the simple lesson in life: Let go, and let God! Believing someone above us can lead us to share, to be honest, and to love. Listening to something or someone greater than ourselves sets one to be truly free.

Let us rejoice for the many things that give us joy, the simple, the ordinary, and the profound. Waking up in the morning, the first sip of our coffee, the chill of the morning air as we open the garage, and the promise of a great day. The different people we encounter throughout the day, the people in our family, the people at our work (the employees and our bosses), and the people God sends to us to remind us of His presence (who challenge or inspire us). Profoundly, the joy that comes from overcoming trials and difficulties, from experiencing the movements of God in our lives, a spiritual realization of God’s constant presence in our life. The Lord is here with us; He is the Emmanuel; God is with us. May we all experience the greatest joy of knowing how much God loves us. As they say, more than the candles and Christmas lights, let our faces and hearts light up with joy. And let us also make the faces and hearts of the people around us light up with joy also!