One of the four candles on an Advent wreath is rose-coloured. This is the candle we light today for the Third Sunday of Advent, the Sunday also named Gaudate or “rejoicing” Sunday – a name taken from the opening word of the Entrance Antiphon for today’s Mass.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near” Philippians 4:4-5
Before the birth of Christ people were often at a loss about how to live in harmony with God. While they received the Law through Moses as a gift, they soon tragically reduced this life-giving direction to little rules that served to bind rather than free. Those who are captive struggle to sing songs of rejoicing.
These directionless people flock to John asking: What must we do then?
At this point John presents the first clear social teaching of the Christian era, firstly to the people, then tax collectors, then the soldiers.
“Master, what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate.’ Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!” Luke 3:10-18
Then John declared before them all that Christ whom they had awaited was immanent and the era they had long awaited had arrived.
The mistake we make is to see the arrival of the Messiah only as an historical event. The reality is that Jesus Christ, who overcame death, is present in our world today, and wherever there is love, there is God.
There is no greater cause for rejoicing than awareness of this fact.
You might like to…
- Take a few moments now, even a minute or two, to speak to Jesus, asking Him to show you that he is with you in the midst of your anxieties, struggles, joys and hopes today. When you have asked this spend a minute listening for His reply. What do you notice? Trust this sense.