Gaudete Sunday: Do Not Be Anxious, Rejoice
Photo Credit: corpuschristicsp.org
You may have noticed the priest swapping out his purple vestments for “rose” this past Sunday. This is because the liturgical color, rose symbolizes anticipation. And as we find ourselves two weeks from Christmas we are doing just that, anticipating the Lord’s coming by recognizing his increasing nearness.
This third week of advent, is the turning point of the season where we shift from a more sacrificial, penitential spirit to a spirit of Joy! Therefore, rather than saying, “The Lord is coming" we can now Rejoice in that “The Lord is NEAR.”
The words Rejoice/Joy were proclaimed 13 times between the readings and the responsorial psalm alone this past Sunday. Which explains the name “Gaudete Sunday,” being that Gaudete in Latin means Rejoice.
It may seem premature to be rejoicing when many of us have succumbed to the stresses of our unfinished Christmas lists and the many seasonal “to-dos” we have yet to check off.
Photo Credit: thegoodbook.com
However, Sunday’s readings come at the perfect time to remind us where God is calling our focus these weeks of Advent.
“Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: rejoice!
--The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” - Phil 4:4-7
According to Vatican Radio, in his 2014 Gaudete Sunday homily, Pope Francis said instead of fretting about "all they still haven't" done to prepare for Christmas, people should "think of all the good things life has given you."
Photo Credit: catholicherald.co.uk
Pope Francis said it "hurts to see Christians with a bitter face, restless with bitterness because they are not at peace," adding that "saints have the face of joy," and noting that no one has ever seen a saint with “a sad face.”
He said that Christian joy comes from being in prayer and from giving thanks to God. He continued in saying that this joy gives a serene peace, which exists even in times of suffering.
The world advertises the “feeling of happiness” during the holidays, where as God promises “a spirit of joy.” The difference? Happiness is fleeting and dependent on external factors, whereas joy has a deeper meaning. Just as Pope Francis acknowledged, Joy can persist in even the darkest, saddest times.
Henri Nouwen the well-known priest, professor, and writer defined joy well, “Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved (by God) and that nothing—sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death—can take that love away.”
At Regina Angelorum Academy, a Catholic School in Montgomery County, PA, we make it our mission to create in our culture this "joy". A type of joy that will silence the hustle and bustle and allow families to feel present and at peace. During this Advent season, the Ardmore private school emphasizes the real importance of Christmas—Christ’s coming and a longing to be close to Him.
As the rose colored advent candle is lit this week, in both our school and in our own homes, may we be reminded of its meaning. May we anticipate, and expect with confidence, that the Lord is near in our lives despite the circumstances we find ourselves in. In the days leading to Christmas, may we feel peace rather than anxiety and with a grateful heart may we Gaudete, Rejoice!
Photo Credit: bethelplace.ca
Share in the Christmas Spirit by joining Regina Angelorum Academy, a Catholic School in Ardmore for the following Christmas Events:
Thursday, December 16th, 2021:
Christmas Sing-a-long - 10am
Lessons and Carols - 7pm
Regina Angelorum Academy
105 Argyle Rd.
Ardmore, PA 19003
Regina Angelorum Academy is an independent, Catholic Liberal Arts, coeducational school offering Pre K through 8th grade. It is distinguished for the Classical Education model and is located only 5 miles west of Philadelphia in the heart of the Main Line. RAA draws students from Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.