This weekend, we celebrate the half way point on our Advent journey toward Christ. The purple of penance is lightened up for a weekend, becoming a pinkish rose. The liturgy encourages us to lighten up a bit as well. The third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday from the Latin opening prayer, “Gaudete in Domino semper!” which means, “Rejoice in the Lord always!”
Amid this time of preparation for one of the biggest feasts of the year, we are invited, for a least a minute, to stop and let the joy that is the reason for all our preparations sink in. The responsorial psalm this weekend is Mary’s hymn of rejoicing, the Magnificat. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior… He has come to the help of his servant Israel, for he has remembered his promise of mercy” (Lk 1).
While our Christmas traditions of cards and gifts and parties and food bring us joy for a day, the inspiration of true joy comes when we participate in this saving and healing mission of Christ. Just like Mary, both saying “yes” to God’s plan for our life and living that plan out joyfully are part of our call to discipleship.
There is great potential, and great need, for disciples who go out into the world with the joy of the gospel guiding them. Many of the stories of the saints testify to the impact of such lives. Their lives show the Spirit at work in the world, as Isaiah predicts: Glad tidings are brought to the poor. The brokenhearted are healed. Liberty is proclaimed to captives and prisoners find release.
We have reason to rejoice at the call to discipleship that God has given each of us. Let us rejoice in the savior born among us, rejoice in the miracles he worked and rejoice in the salvation he made possible. Let us rejoice to in the gifts of life and healing he has given us and rejoice that he calls and empowers us to continue that work of making miracles happen in others.
May God bless you with the ability to rejoice in His goodness and share that joy with all those you meet today,