Gaudete Sunday Reflection December 16, 2018
By Rev. Robert Johnnene OFM
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/Franciscans of Mercy of Reformed Catholic Church
Based on: Zephaniah 3:14-18, Philippians’ 4:4-7, Luke 3:10-18,
Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice; exult with all your heart, daughter of
Jerusalem! these words from the book of Zephaniah 3:14-18 and the following from St. Paul, in his letter
to the people of Philippi, sends us a very powerful message on how to live our life.
All the readings for this Sunday, called Gaudete Sunday, which means a Sunday to Rejoice .and the
vestments are ROSE rather than purple.
Pope Francis reflecting on the 3rd Sunday of Advent had this to say about it;
“The Christian message is called the ‘gospel,’ that is, ‘good news,’ an announcement of joy for all people;
the Church is not a shelter for sad people, the Church is the house of joy!” He went on with the following;
“Christian joy, like hope, has its foundation in the faithfulness of God, in the certainty that He always
keeps his promises”.
The third Sunday of Advent is often referred to by its Latin name, Gaudete Sunday, which indicates that it
is a day of ‘rejoicing’ In the liturgy, the invitation to rejoice, to arise, resounds repeatedly, because the
Lord is near, Christmas is near. The Church encourages us to follow faithfully the spiritual path to
celebrate the feast of Christmas with renewed exaltation.
In Italy the 3rd Sunday of Advent is a day when children bring their statues of the infant Jesus from their
nativity sets at home to be blessed by the Pope and Pope Francis told all the children gathered in the
square to have the images of the Infant Jesus blessed the following; “Dear children, when you pray in
front of your manger scene, also remember me as I remember you,” May the Virgin Mary help us to
hasten our steps toward Bethlehem to meet the Child that is born for us, for the salvation and joy of all
men, The joy of the gospel is not just any joy, It is the joy that comes from knowing you are welcomed
and loved by God Our joy is Jesus, his faithful love is inexhaustible!” Pope Francis words are ones which
we need to hold in our hearts during this season of advent as we prepare ourselves for the celebration of
the birth of Jesus Christ and the salvation his coming brought to the entire human race.
We also should reflect on what Paul told us in his letter to the Philippians. “Always be full of joy in the
Lord”. With so much grumbling about one thing or another these days and with the economy and the
world in a state of turmoil and with the daily news services reporting one horrible event after another it
might seem difficult to REJOICE. Just the knowledge that so many children of God around the world are
living in poverty, suffering from discrimination, homeless, and being killed and forced to flee their homes
because of the religious intolerance, greed and power seeking, we might wonder how we could ever
REJOICE IN THE LORD!
It might just be that the cause of all the suffering facing the world today is that so many have put God
totally out of their daily lives and replaced Him with the desire for fame, fortune, power and just plain
Many claim that they are too busy to give God a portion of their time every day or even on Sunday. They
must work, shop, a game of golf or a sporting event to go to or some other reason rather than take an
hour of time devoted to Thanking God and Seeking God’s blessings.
If they would just take some time to think they might come to the realization that all good things came
from the creator. If only they realize that, just maybe, they might come to the awareness that they need to
thank God for what He has provided them and acknowledge God’s presence in their life.
People are so busy decorating their houses and purchasing gifts in preparing to celebrate Christmas,
Chanukah or Kwanzaa that they focus is on the commercial aspects of the holidays and people forget
what true meaning of these holidays; REJOICING IN GOD’S GOODNESS AND GIVING THANKS.
Without God and His beloved son, Jesus Christ, none of these holidays would exist.
Let’s make sure that we have set aside time in these last two weeks of Advent to thank God for all He has
provided us. Let’s plan to attend a religious
ceremony as a part of our celebration plans. For those who are Christian, attend church and receive the
The Gospel tells us the way to live with these words; “If anyone has two tunics he must share with the
man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’ There were tax collectors too
who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master, what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no
more than your rate.’ Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said
to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!”
Christmas is the time we set aside to recognize Christ’s coming here in order to teach us the way to
happiness and everlasting peace and open the way for us to achieve eternal salvation.
Let us acknowledge that precious gift from God, the Gift of His beloved son and make room in our lives
every day to “Rejoice in Him” through prayer and works of charity, compassion and love for ALL God’s
children. Let us strive to live our life every day in a manner that is in accordance with the way Christ
instructed in this week’s Gospel reading and let us work toward being more considerate, compassionate,
understanding, forgiving and caring person to all we encounter in our daily life, rather than just
concentrating on our own needs.
Let us also follow through on the request Pope Francis made; “When you pray in front of your manger
scene, remember me as I remember you,” May the Virgin Mary help us to hasten our steps toward
Bethlehem to meet the Child that is born for us, for the salvation and joy of all men, The joy of the gospel
is not just any joy, It is the joy that comes from knowing you are welcomed and loved by God….Our joy is
Jesus, his faithful love is inexhaustible!”
What a wonderful way to present our gift to Almighty God in thanksgiving for all He has done for us by
taking time to pray and make sure that you have “Christ” as the center of your Christmas celebrations.
For without Christ there is no Christmas. AMEN