A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC
July 29, 2016
December 14, 2019
NOTES FROM DEACON PAREJA
December 17, 2017
This Sunday, traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday, we will light the pink candle on the Advent wreath. Gaudete, a Latin word meaning rejoice, was the first word of the Entrance Antiphon for Mass for the day. The entire theme of the day was taken from this word, as the somber penitential focus of Advent gave way to a day of rejoicing. It is a preview of the Christmas season to come. That one word -“rejoice” - sets the theme of today’s Liturgy, as this celebration marks the half-way point in our observance of Advent. And so, we rejoice this weekend, because Christmas is drawing near. And we light the pink candle in our Advent wreath as a reminder that this is a time for us to rejoice. Joy and rejoicing are part of all of our readings on this day. As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of Jesus Christ means for us. Like Lent, Advent is a penitential season for us as Catholics. However, having passed the mid-point of Advent, we see some changes to encourage us in our spiritual preparation.
Yes, this should have been a time when we have been spiritually preparing for the coming of Christ. It is not too late; it is never too late in the eyes of the Lord for us to make a determined effort to change, to repent, and to find ways to properly serve the Lord as disciples. On this day of Joy let us renew our efforts to be good stewards of all of our gifts. Stewardship, of course, is founded in trust.
On Gaudete Sunday in 2013 Pope Francis said, “Those who trust in God experience the peacefulness in their hearts and nothing and no one can take that away. Our joy is Christ.” Gaudete Sunday serves as a lesson for us. It is a reminder to rejoice that our Lord is near. Such is the call upon our lives daily. We are to live differently in allowing that reality to place everything else into perspective. Amidst the bustle of year end, holiday plans, shopping, and preparations we are called to slow down and rejoice.
Living with joy is more than a feeling, a moment, or even an attitude. It rushes over us, our schedules, and our lives as we give thanks, recall, and ask God to orient our hearts in His hope, contentment, and confidence. As we lead lives preparing for His return, patterning our lives after His, we are filled with joy and live in confidence of His promises. When we gather this week and the pink candle is lit, we are reminded of the joy we experience of knowing Him as Lord. I pray that joy fills each of our hearts and lives not just this week, but throughout the year!