Dear OSJ Family,

Today we arrive at the Third Sunday of Advent known as “Gaudete Sunday.” Its name is taken from the entrance antiphon of today’s Mass:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice.
Indeed, the Lord is near.

This beautiful antiphon is taken directly from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians chapter 4, verses 4-5. The word “Rejoice” in Latin is Gaudete.

A fair question would be, why the great emphasis on our need for rejoicing at this point in Advent? As we have learned, and hopefully appropriated in our spiritual lives, Advent is the season of preparing for the arrival of the Lord Jesus (both his first coming and his second coming), and by the third Sunday of Advent we are most of the way through this holy season. With each lit candle of the Advent wreath, the “light of the world” is growing stronger, the darkness is dispelling, our joy is building, and the King, Jesus Christ, is closer to coming! Consequently, it is appropriate to rejoice at the midpoint of Advent as we see the goal of the season approaching: “Indeed the Lord is near.”

You will note that the third candle of the wreath lit today is rose colored (not violet) as are the liturgical vestments of the priest.  On Gaudete Sunday the color for the priest’s chasuble is either violet (which signifies waiting and anticipation) or rose, which is only used twice year and represents great joy. We at OSJ in keeping with time honored tradition (which I have learned is so central at our parish!) use the rose vestments.

So today OSJ, “Rejoice: The Lord is near.” As Christmas draws closer let us stay focused on the real meaning of the season and hold fast to what the Church emphasizes. The joy which should be in our hearts is all of what the birth of our Savior means for us and our salvation! The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing near when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom.

This alone is reason enough to Rejoice!

Blessed Advent,

Fr Phil Florio,SJ