Gaudete in Domino

12-15-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Julius Kundi

We remind ourselves again that Advent marks the four-week celebration before Christmas. We have also come to know that traditionally it is a season of penance and preparation before Christmas. The official Church liturgical color is purple, a symbol of penitence. As part of expressing our contrition, weddings used to be forbidden during this season – as also during Lent.

However the Third Sunday is Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin word for "rejoice." The central message is comfort and joy (gaudete means rejoice), and the readings are always carefully selected to give reason for our rejoicing. Before on this day, everyone took a break from the penitential theme and pink vestments, altar cloths, and candles were allowed in the Church for a little celebration to establish the fact that God is about to fulfill his promise.

The Prophet Isaiah simply puts it that in the day of the Lord, all sorrow and mourning will cease. How will this happen? The Psalmist gives the answer, that the Lord will save his people. We also hear a similar invitation to rejoice by James in the second reading. We should be patient and be ready to get into celebration for the coming of the Lord is near. In the gospel, it's even more explicit. Jesus tells John the Baptist of the signs of the Kingdom being worked through him which reveals him as the promised Messiah.

Indeed, these messages from the readings call for rejoicing because they are comforting. However, we need to stress the message on being patient. We need to listen to the Apostle James again as he invites us to learn how the farmer awaits the precious yield of the soil. He looks forward to it patiently while the soil receives the winter and spring rains. You, too, must be patient. Steady your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Yes, we may probably, like John the Baptist might, expect the Messiah to be a mighty one and get confused also at the gentle healing nature of Jesus. I feel if we have such doubts still in our minds, then we need to listen to Pope Francis invitation to get into the cell of John the Baptist to look into his soul, which was weighed down not only by chains, but by "the shackles of doubt." The Pope then asks, "Does God always come into your life the way you expect"? God will always come to us as a God.

We pray then for God to restore to us the joy of being, forgiven and saved by the Savior Jesus Christ.

Fr. Julius