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Third Sunday of Advent- Gaudete Sunday

Posted: 10 Dec 2018

Rejoice in the Lord always! I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. 

Philippians 4:4-5

As we move forward on our Advent pilgrimage, we reach the third Sunday of Advent, or Gaudete Sunday as it is commonly know in monasteries. The name “Gaudete” comes from the opening of the Introit, which is sung at Mass: “Gaudete in Dominio, semper gaudete,” which means, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice.” Joy is the theme of the entire liturgy for this particular Sunday. All its details, the texts, the music, the vestments, speaks of pure Advent joy. The clear message for this Sunday is the invitation to us Christians to rejoice, for the Lord is near. As we walk our advent journey, we can almost see Christmas in the distance. As on of the lovely Office antiphons this week proclaims: “The Lord is coming and he shall not delay.” 

One more detail unique to Gaudete Sunday is the lighting of the pink candle in the Advent wreath. During the preceding weeks of the season, we have been waiting for the special moment. Indeed today is the day we light that unique candle in the wreath. I say unique, for of the four candles, it is one different in colour. The pink or rose colour matches the colour of the liturgical vestments for the day. The colour symbolises the joyous theme of the day. 

Gaudete Sunday speaks to us of the proximity of the Lord’s arrival. The Lord is now truly near, and that is the reason for our joy. The knowledge and almost palpable experience that the Lord is close at hand revitalizes our inner beliefs and encourages us all to give our undivided attention to the person of Jesus Christ, the God-made-man. The incarnation of the Son of God is the source of our joy, for Christ comes to liberate us from the darkness, from the sinful state, and to introduce us to His Father. In welcoming Christ totally into our lives, we accept the salvation, freedom, and divine love he brings with his coming into the world. As we prepare with deep joy to discover his infant face at Christmas, we experience the joy that our Lady once felt when she embraced him in her arms for the first time. On Christmas Day, as we receive him at the Eucharist, it is he who shall embrace us, he the author and creator of our joy. “Gaude et Laetare semper in domino, filia Sion.” 

Beautiful Saviour, 

King of Creation, 

Son of God and Son of Man! 

Truly I’d love thee, 

Truly I’d serve thee. 

Light of my Soul. 

My Joy, my Crown! 

Anonymous 1677, Leipzig
Br. Victor-Antoine D’Avila-Latourette 
“Monastry Journey to Christmas” 
Copyright 2011 
Liguori Publications 
Liguori, Missouri 63057