Welcome to “Gaudete” Sunday, the halfway point in Advent. The word “Gaudete” means “rejoice” and comes from the first word of the Introit or opening song of the pre-Vatican II liturgy: Rejoice in the Lord, always, again I say rejoice. Isaiah tells the Jews in exile to rejoice, because the Lord will lead them back to Jerusalem. James tells the early Christians to rejoice, because the trials of persecution will give way to the coming of Christ. The message to us is that we, too, should rejoice, because the Lord has come/is coming now/will come.
HAS COME: Christ has come in many ways. On Christmas we will celebrate His first coming as a child in Bethlehem. This is the rock and foundation of all the other comings. Christ also has come to us in the sacraments, in other people, and in the events of our lives.
WILL COME: our faith tells us that Christ will come to us either at the end of our lives or the end of time, whichever comes first. This final coming of Christ will bring us eternal joy and peace, certainly something to rejoice in.
IS COMING NOW: Christ continues to come to us each day as He accompanies us in life, again through the sacraments, other people, and the events of our lives. Advent is a time of reflection on how we are doing at recognizing Christ’s presence in our lives. Sometimes He is present in us as we bring Him to others, for example, visiting the homebound. Sometimes He is present to others who give us good example or call us to be more Christlike. Maybe He comes to us in a spectacular sunset that cheers us up at the end of a trying day, and so on.
The more we allow Christ into our lives each day and the more we live in such a way that we are bringing Him to others, the more we are cooperating in bringing about the fulness of His Kingdom, His second coming.
As we mark the halfway point of the season of Advent, I invite us to reflect on how we are doing at recognizing Christ coming into our lives each day and how we are doing at living Gospel values, so that we can be Christ’s presence to others. God bless.
Church sign of the week: When life feels like a roller coaster, remember Jesus is the steel bar.