Today is called Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent. Gaudete is the Latin word for "rejoice" and the name is taken from the Entrance Chant for today's Mass: Gaudete in Domino semper; iterum dico, gaudete. Dominus enim prope est. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near."
The theme of rejoicing is apparent in today's readings from Scripture. The first reading from Isaiah (Is 61:1-2a, 10-11) includes the proclamation, 'I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul..."
Our response today is also taken from this passage in Isaiah: "My soul rejoices in my God."
The second reading is from 1 Thes 5:16-24 where St. Paul tells us, "Rejoice always."
Our gospel reading is from Jn 1:6-8, 19-23. Does it, too, speak of rejoicing? In a round about way, yes. In today's gospel, people are asking about this John the Baptist fellow. Who is this man? Is he Elijah? Is he a prophet? Is he the Christ? John's answer to all of this is a flat out "No!" So why, then, the Pharisees asked him, are you going around baptizing people if you are not any of these thing? John told them, "I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie."
And this is why we, today, can rejoice. Because we have recognized the one of whom John spoke. He is here, among us.
We have seen the fulfillment of what Isaiah foretold. We recognize the Christ whom St. Paul proclaims in the second reading.
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything, retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil. May the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, sould and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it.
Christ has come! He has come for our salvation. He is faithful. He will accomplish it. And so let us rejoice!
WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
(828)293-9374 | POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723