Rejoice!!! The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI
R 1 : IS: 61:1=2A, 10=11
R Psalm: LK 1: 46=48, 49=50, 53=54 (R: IS 61:10B)
R 2: 1 THES 5: 16=24 (R: IS 61:10B)
Gospel: JN 1: 6=8
Liturgical colour: Violet/Rose.
Today we come together to celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent, also called ‘Gaudette Sunday’. This is when we come together to REJOICE as we await in hope and anticipation the coming of our Saviour. ‘Gaudette’ originally comes from the vulgate translation (Phil 4:4) of ‘Gaudette in Domino Semper’, and which means “Rejoice in the Lord always”, and as such the theme we focus on today is Rejoicing and joy!
We are half way through our observance of Advent and we REJOICE because we know that the coming of our Lord and Saviour is now less than two weeks away. Today we light the Rose/pink candle on our advent wreaths to signify and to remind us that this a time to REJOICE.
In our Liturgy of the Word today, we clearly hear St Paul (in the conclusion of his first letter to the Thessalonians), telling us important Do’s and Don’ts, let us look at these:
Do: “REJOICE always. PRAY without ceasing. In all circumstances GIVE THANKS.
Dont’:” Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise Prophetic utterances.”
Our Liturgy and Holy scriptures today are all about REJOICING!!
This can be seen both in the message of the Prophet Isaiah (today’s first reading), and also in our Holy Gospel reading today of St. John the Baptist, and also of St. Paul, to remind us of the ever presence among us of the One Lord, the one and true source of our Joy: Jesus Christ!!
We all know how very easy it can be among all the hustle and bustle of the preparations of our Christmas celebrations to forget to recognise that Jesus is present and in the midst and indeed is the true reason for our Christmas preparations and celebration. This is why today is so important. It is an invite to us and for us to REJOICE always, to PRAY without ceasing, and to GIVE THANKS!! Why is this important? Because we have SEEN THE Light and we truly recognise Christ’s presence among us.
Let us not be mistaken, Jesus is NOT only present in the Baby of Bethlehem born of Mary; NOT only present as the crucified Lord nailed to the cross dying for our sins; NOT only present as the Risen Lord outside the empty tomb on Easter Sunday, nor only with the Apostles in that upper room on Easter Sunday night.
The Risen Lord Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, truly IS PRESENT, among us, yes, right here and right NOW, speaking to our hearts and Spirit through the Holy scriptures, and giving himself to us ALWAYS in the Holy Eucharist which we share.
May we truly REJOICE! May the blessing told to us by St. Paul (second reading), truly be a blessing to each and every one of us, as we continue our Advent journey and preparation for the coming of Our Lord and Saviour: ” May the God of peace make us perfectly holy: and may we entirely=Spirit, soul and body =be preserved blameless for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Let us pray with joy and rejoicing in our hearts:
O God, who sees how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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