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Divine Office Reflections | Gaudete Sunday

The Third Sunday in Advent is called Gaudete Sunday. It gets its name from the first word in the Introit of the Mass, which means Rejoice! This is also the first word in the antiphon for Evening Prayer I, which says “Rejoice Jerusalem, let our joy overflow; your Savior will come to you, alleluia.” We see this echoed in St. Paul’s words in the reading for Evening Prayer II, “Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!

Today, there is great rejoicing, for the long awaited coming of Christ is just around the corner. Advent has now run over half its course. Traditionally, the priest wears rose vestments on this day to indicate that the season of fasting and penance is coming to its end, making way for a season of great feasting and celebration.

But as we rejoice today, it is important that we rejoice in the Lord! In other words, we must remember the cause of our rejoicing – that our heavenly King “comes with power and might to save the nations” (Antiphon, Evening Prayer I). Indeed, we rejoice because “the night is far spent; the day draws near” and “the Lord is coming without delay… [to] reveal things kept hidden and show himself to all mankind” (Antiphon, Morning Prayer). Even “the mountains break out with joy and the hills with answering gladness for the world’s true light, the Lord, comes with power and might” (Antiphon, Evening Prayer II).

Today is a reminder that, because of our hope in Christ, even seasons marked by longsuffering and forbearance can have moments of light and joy. So, as we continue to wait upon the Lord for His coming at Christmas, let us rejoice for all those moments in life when we are graced with a reminder that God is faithful and that He provides what we need in the proper seasons. Our part is to trust and rejoice in Him always.

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