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Gaudete Sunday
Sunday, December 16 2012

The Pink Candle in the Advent Wreath...

As Advent continues, we are reminded today to rejoice in the Lord:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! –Philippians 4:4, NAB

Why is this Sunday called Gaudete Sunday?  The first words used in today's Mass are "Gaudete in Domino semper," which means "Rejoice in the Lord always."  The theme of today's Mass, then, is to rejoice knowing that Christmas, or the Feast of the Nativity, will soon be here.

In past weeks, I have reminded you how the Advent Season is a season of penance and reflection, much like Lent (read here), but today, we take a brief moment to rejoice knowing that the Lord will soon be with us.

In today's world, the Christmas season has become a time focused on big sales, piles of gifts, and the commercialization of Christmas - making in difficult to participate in the true meaning of the Advent season.  If we are not taking the time to reflect properly this Advent, we are also likely to miss the true joy that comes from Gaudete Sunday.

Let's look at Lent as an example.  During Lent, most of us continue to do some form of fasting.  As the days count down, we grow even more excited as Easter draws near.  When we realize that we are only a week away, we find a renewed purpose in our fasting.  If we participated in Advent the same way, Gaudete Sunday would give us a similar feeling.

Don't worry - it's never too late to begin penance.  Today, spend time rejoicing and reflecting on our coming Savior.  Starting tomorrow, look for ways to make amends with God.  Spend a few less hours shopping, and offer that time in service to God helping those in need.  Go to Confession.  Begin a Novena in honor of the Lord.  You can even fast for these remaining days.  The choice is yours.

Rejoice!  Advent, a season of penance, is coming to a close, and the Lord will soon be with us!  Gaudete Sunday is a day of celebrating in anticipation.  Soon, we will celebrate the coming of our Savior who humbled Himself as a babe in a manger.


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