This guest post is by Deacon Kevin Bagley, Director of Verbum.
As we light the rose-colored candle on the Advent Wreath, we enter the Third Sunday of Advent. The rose candle is used to identify Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word meaning “rejoice.” We rejoice that the coming of the Lord is near, and recognize that our spiritual preparation for the birth of the Christ child is almost complete.
In the First Reading, Isaiah shares his joy in serving the Lord, the same joy we receive when we listen and follow the teachings of Jesus. Remember how you felt when you received wonderful news? Perhaps it was getting the job you wanted, settling on the house, or finding out a loved one was cancer-free. This is the joy we can experience when we turn ourselves over to the Lord. This is the promise and hope we have for eternal life in the Kingdom!
Saint Paul continues this theme of joy and celebration in and with the Lord, and that we can receive the peace of God and become holy and blameless while we await the coming of Jesus.
In the Gospel reading, John the Baptist is questioned by the people who are seeking the Messiah, wondering if he is the One. John was sent to prepare the people, to urge them to make ready to receive the Lord. We also await the Savior, not only at Christmas time, but when Christ comes at the end of time. Are we ready to receive Christ fully, completely, and without reservation? He is coming; prepare!
We must live our lives in expectation that Christ could come to us at any moment. As we prepare our homes for Christmas, we must also be preparing our hearts for the Lord. We must be open and receptive to hear His word, to follow his commands, and to be of service in His name. How will you say “Yes” to the Lord, today? How will you show compassion and mercy? How will you repair a broken relationship? What are you waiting for, Christmas? Behold, it is right around the corner!