Reflection for the 3 Sunday of Advent, week beginning 12 December 2021.
This Sunday is GAUDETE Sunday which is always the 3rd Sunday of Advent. ‘Gaudete’ is Latin for ‘Rejoice’ – this is an exhortation to us to be joyful, to rejoice!
The candle to be lit on the Advent wreath in church will be the pink one – it will be lit after the 2 purple ones lit so far. (Pink is obviously a much softer colour than purple which is the colour of mourning.)
Gaudete Sunday signifies that the 2nd of Advent’s 2 phases is to begin shortly – on 17th December to be precise – we are then exhorted to rejoice, to be joyful – the presumption being that we have fittingly prepared ourselves in Advent’s 1st phase – that is much longer in 2021, it began on Sunday 28th November – each year, which will always conclude on 16th December.
In the 2nd phase of Advent (December 17th to 24th inclusive), the liturgical lay-out in the Missal and Lectionary at Mass is quite different from Phase 1. Each day is given its separate date, whereas in Phase 1, the days were determined by the number of the week (e.g. Thursday of the 2nd week of Advent).
From December 17th onwards, it is as though we are drawing Christmas Day towards us each day as we are drawn to rejoicing.
Gaudete Sunday points us towards this atmosphere of preliminary rejoicing ahead of Christmas Day.
We may even justifiably say that the great feast of the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (December 8th) brought us rejoicing, even ahead of Gaudete Sunday.