Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)
Blessed Gaudete Sunday!
Gaudete means “Rejoice!”,
and when the Mass was still done in Latin, that was the first word,
the word that set the theme, of the entire celebration for this Sunday of Advent.
Rejoice! Advent is more than half-over! Rejoice! The Lord is near!
This week we get a break from our Advent violet for the more cheerful rose.
You will probably see it in the rose candle lit on the Advent wreath this week,
and possibly even in your priest’s vestments (although rose vestments have become rather rare).
The use of rose to mark having passed the halfway point of a penitential season
actually started in Lent.
One source claims that members of the Early Church exchanged roses
on the fourth Sunday of Lent (just past the halfway point of the season)
as a sign of mingled sorrow and joy (soft petals and prickly thorns).
What is more certain is that rose vestments are used
for the ceremony of the papal blessing of the ”golden rose”
on the fourth Sunday of Lent (which was referred to as an ancient custom in the 12th century).
This rose, which is fragranced with incense and set with rubies (it was once tinted red),
is a symbol of Christ, the Flower that sprang from the Root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1).
The fragrance signifies the sweet aroma of Christ,
which should be diffused throughout the whole world by His followers (see II Corinthians 2:14-15).
The color and thorns remind us of His Passion.
Once rose was established as a color of joy in Lent, it was used in a similar way in Advent.
It’s especially appropriate as we look forward to the O Antiphon for December 19th:
O Root of Jesse
A standard to the peoples,
Before Whom kings are mute,
To Whom all nations shall appeal
Come to deliver us; delay, please, no longer
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom
Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I say, rejoice.
Indeed the Lord is near.
O God, who see how Your people
faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity,
enable us, we pray,
to attain the joys of so great a salvation,
and to celebrate them always
with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11 (the Spirit of God has sent me to bring glad tidings)
Psalm: Luke 1: 46-50, 53-54 “My soul rejoices in my God”
I Thessalonians 5:16-24 (may God help us to be irreproachable at the coming of Jesus)
+ John 1:6-8, 19-28 (the Jewish leaders ask St. John the Baptist: “Are You He who is to come?”)
and spin around for joy
in what you cannot see.
The One you seek,
is in your midst
He looked upon
He’s come to meet you there
with humble mien
to heal your heart,
to break your chains,
to wrap you
in a robe
He has great plans for you!
Do I live the belief that everything that comes from the hand of God is for my benefit?
Do I rejoice and thank God when His blessings come in humble disguise? When they don’t feel good?