Tuesday, December 11, 2012
On December 16, the Third Sunday of Advent, the Church will celebrate what is traditionally called “Gaudete Sunday.” Gaudete, the opening word of the Introit (the antiphon of the Roman Gradual) for this day, comes from the Latin version of the second reading, Philippians 4:4: Gaudete in Domino semper: hernum dico gaudete(“Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!”). The Third Sunday of Advent sets a tone of rejoicing, of joyful expectation. In the gospel reading for this day the response of the people who heard John the Baptist preach is also a reminder of what can happen to us when we are genuinely open to the One who is to come: “Now the people were filled with expectation” (Lk 3:15). John’s disciples did not know the identity of this “One” but still rejoiced in their hope, openness, and expectation to that for which they know not what. Nor do we today know the guise under which we will encounter the “One.” But the Church—the other, this One—summons us, claims us, Gaudete!