Gaudete Sunday invites us to proclaim as Isaiah does: They will meet with joy and gladness
On this third Sunday of Advent, joy is the theme of today’s prayers and Scriptures. Traditionally called Gaudete (“rejoice” in Latin) Sunday, we light the pink or rose candle of our Advent wreath, a more festive and joyful color than purple.
Joy is something we all long for and there are many things that can bring us momentary happiness, but true and lasting joy comes only through a personal, life-giving relationship with the Lord. Joy is God’s gift to us when we’re in relationship with Him. If we want to be joyful people then we need to work on our relationship with God. According to Pope Francis, “If we wish to follow Christ closely, we cannot choose an easy, quiet life. It will be a demanding life, but full of joy.”
We grow in joy by remembering the wonderful things that God does for us. Listen to Isaiah’s joy: “Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee” (Is 35:10). These words remind me of the beautiful words spoken on Dec. 12 for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The opening of the Canticle of Mary proclaims: “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior. The Almighty has done great things for me.” (Luke 1: 46-48)
On Dec. 17 we begin praying the ancient O Antiphons. These are special chants sung at Vespers, or evening prayer, in the Octave before Christmas. Each antiphon (Wisdom, Leader of the House of Israel, Root of Jesse’s stem, Key of David, Radiant Dawn, King of all nations, Emmanuel) is a title for the Messiah, the One who fulfills Isaiah's prophesies, the hope and joy of Advent.