Gaudete Sunday Reflection
By Deacon Paul Kennedy
Today, the third Sunday of Advent, the Church celebrates Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete comes from the Latin word “gaudeo” which means too rejoice or simply “joy”. The candle we light on the advent wreath is a special pink colour when compared with the other three somber purple candles. This is a sign that our period of waiting and preparation is coming to a close – our Lord is coming closer to us. All of our readings today speak of joy and hope. The same joy and hope brought to us by our lord through His promise of salvation to everlasting life.
The first reading, from the prophet Isaiah, gives us a new and remarkable year of joy – a time of forgiveness of debts, liberty to captives, consolation to the broken-hearted along with a rest for the whole of creation. This is the heart of Jesus mission on earth. Today’s Psalm is very familiar to those who pray the evening prayer from the divine office. It is known as the Magnificat. This is our Lady’s song of praise to our Lord. The Psalm refrain – “My soul shall exalt in my God.” is an absolutely beautiful song of praise from a loving servant – Mary, the mother of God.
Finally the Gospel from John tells us that he is not the Messiah or a prophet. He states that he comes to lead the way for the one who is coming after – Jesus. Using John as a model, we can point to Christ and direct others to Christ without calling attention to ourselves or elevate our own importance. There are many models of this kind of behaviour in our lives. These are the people who show selfless love in the midst of the “often-overwhelming” evils of this world. These people light up our world just as the Christmas lights and flowers brighten everything around us.
What is it that brings joy and hope into our individual or collective lives? Is it a generous raise from our employer? Is it good news concerning the health of a family member or friend? Maybe it’s the celebration of a special event in our family. Maybe it is the surprise visit of a friend.
We can all appreciate some of the joy that we experience with any of these or other important events in our lives. Most of us have been on the receiving end of a joyful experience. These are times of hope and joy! These are times when we can offer hope and joy to others through our attitude and our generosity. We can be a true witness to Jesus in our lives.