On the Third Sunday of Advent, we light the rose candle on the Advent wreath, and the priest wears a rose vestment. The rose color speaks to us of the early dawn light, just rising above the horizon, letting us know that night is almost over and the new day is beginning. Liturgically, it is a sign of hope that the waiting and the preparing for the Messiah is almost fulfilled. He is coming, and he is coming very soon.
This particular Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word that means “rejoice.” The readings for this day, and the prayers for Mass, all deal with rejoicing. Isaiah the prophet, in our first reading tells us, “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul. The responsorial psalm is the Magnificat of Mary in which she proclaims, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Saint Paul tells us in the second reading that we should rejoice always.
Perhaps, as we come to the end of this very strange and difficult year, it is good to be reminded that we should rejoice, even in times like these. Maybe, especially in times like these we need to be reminded to rejoice. Despite all the struggles and difficulties that we face, there is still so much to rejoice about. I think that this is true in our own individual lives, but as a Christian people, our ultimate rejoicing is in the fact that Christ has come into this world, has won victory over sin and death, and has promised that he will return to bring forth the Kingdom in its fullness and in its perfection.
–Fr. Mike Comer