Rejoice! – Gaudete Sunday
Today we celebrate a special Sunday of Advent called Gaudete Sunday. We heard this note sounded by the Prophet Isaiah in the First Reading: “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.” St. Paul continues this theme in his Letter to the Thessalonians when he says: “Rejoice always! Pray without ceasing.” And the Gospel also tells us that the people of the time were full of anticipation and joy, wondering whether John might be the Messiah. One commentary on today’s Gospel describes the people as being “on the tiptoe of expectation and joy”.
Would a visitor to our parishes here today find us “on the tiptoe of expectation”, radiating joy? Maybe yes, maybe no. Some people do find a great deal of joy in practicing and sharing their faith. Other people find the practice of faith boring or burdensome. I think this is a good Sunday to ask ourselves: “How freely do we show joy in professing our faith?” Each of us has been blessed in very unique ways and each of us has been given the gift of faith, although some make use of this gift more than others. All of us are called, however, to put God at the center of our lives.
Only when God is at the center of our lives will we be able to share that tremendous joy over our faith that our Readings speak of today on this Gaudete Sunday. Only when God is at the center of our lives will our practice of the faith cease to be boring or burdensome. Only when God is at the center of our lives will we begin to dismiss all anxieties from our minds. Only when God is at the center of our lives will we be able to present all of our needs to God in every form of
prayer and in petitions full of love and gratitude.
When we view our relationship with God and our faith lives as a gift – a gift that is to be treasured and rejoiced in – then we will be able to experience what St. Paul prays for at the end of our Second Reading: “May the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Rejoice in the Lord always!