Third Sunday in Advent
Advent is a time when we consider what we want. On a basic level, leading up to Christmas, we think about presents that we might like, things we might like to do over the holidays, and friends and family we might like to see when we go home. On a deeper level, as this is a season when we are encouraged to think about “peace on Earth” and “goodwill to all,” we know that we like these things, and that we very much want to see them brought about, but we know that we will not really see them anytime soon.
We want so many things in life, and will live to see so few of them. When John the Baptist sends his disciples to talk to Jesus, he has already been imprisoned, and knows that however much longer he is going to live, he will likely spend that time in his prison cell. Jesus sends them back with the assurance that He is the one that John has been waiting for his whole life. When we hear the things that Jesus is going to do, it is hard not to feel a surge of joy at His promises. The great desires of our hearts, which we become aware of (or remember) in Advent, are fulfilled in Jesus.
Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin word for “rejoice,” is a reminder to us of that as we wait. All through Advent, we wait, and halfway through the season, we are reminded that this waiting is not in vain. We have cause to rejoice. Our desires are not empty, but will be fulfilled. Looking back on our lives, we can think of moments of joy that reminded us how our hearts’ desires will be fulfilled. A moment with family, a prayer answered, a time of consolation. We cannot be waiting forever–we need reminders that the substance of our hope will come. This Gaudete Sunday, we have an opportunity to consider those reminders in our lives, and how God has fulfilled our wants and made us rejoice.