“Rejoice always.” These words, first addressed to the Thessalonians, will be proclaimed to us this Sunday. We are called to rejoice, and the Church gives us this Sunday to do just that. The penitential spirit of Advent is suspended on Gaudete Sunday, as it is on Laetare Sunday during Lent. The priest will wear rose vestments, and we will hear readings which speak of Christian joy, including St. Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians.
“Rejoice always.” It’s a wonderful idea. Further, it’s a scriptural command. We are called to rejoice, not sometimes, but always. How is one to rejoice when there are papers to write, exams to study for, bills to pay, children to feed, or whatever other struggles may be weighing us down? What is there to rejoice in at these times?
While life can seem bleak at times, there is always cause for rejoicing. The Church in her wisdom gives us Gaudete Sunday to remind us why we have a reason to rejoice. We rejoice in the prophecy of the Messiah foretold by Isaiah. We rejoice in the coming of our savior, as we hear the Gospel tell us of St. John the Baptist, proclaiming the coming of Christ. We rejoice especially in Our Lord, made present on the altar yet again.
“Rejoice always.” We are not told to be happy always in some sort of simplistic, glib fashion. Rather, we are told to have joy, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit: joy which comes from the assurance of salvation promised by the birth of Our Lord. As the stresses of preparing for Christmas increase, listen to the voice crying out in the wilderness, hear the words foretelling our Messiah, and rejoice, always, in Our Lord, who was born to save. With Our Lord present before us, who couldn’t help but rejoice always?
Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (used with permission).