Laudetur Jesus Christus!
Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Today we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, one of two days on the Liturgical Calendar where the color Rose is used. The Liturgical Seasons of Advent and Lent take on a special characteristic that causes a certain angst within our souls. Advent creates a period of expectant waiting, as a prepare for Christmas Day, continue in our daily desire to welcome Christ into our souls, and wait for Christ’s triumphal return at the Second Coming. Lent is a period of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as we perform penances in reparation for our own sins in preparation for Easter Sunday.
The church seeks to give a brief moment of pause during these mournful violate seasons, but presenting us with the reminder that Christians are call to be joyful. Even though we spiritually join with the Israelites in their expectation of the Lord at Christmas, the Church reminds us on this day that the Lord has already come at Christmas. That we are indeed a redeemed people, and this should cause us great joy. This is what the word Gaudete means, it is a command to rejoice.
St. Philip Neri would teach us that mourning and sorrow, in the absence of joy and confidence in redemption, have no place in the Christian life. One should be sorrowful for their sins, there should be a sense of regret for having offended God, but this sorrow must never be eclipsed by the great joy of Redemption.
Christ came on that first Christmas morning in order to redeem us, to save us from our sins. If we need any further proof of God’s immense love then we doubt what God is capable of accomplishing. God is all merciful and loving, if we are willing to accept that mercy and do as Christ commanded in the Gospels, to sin no more. Christ offers each person upon this small earth of ours the ability to become saints. This offer is freely given to each individual person, and it is up to each individual person to either embrace that gift or to reject. The mercy of God knows no boundary except a heart unwilling to accept it.
This is why, even in the midst of expectant waiting, when the Israelites waited in mourning for the Savior of the world to come and save them, that the Church offers us this joyful Sunday. A reminder that while Christians should be sorrowful for their own personal sins, this sorrow must be turned into joy because of the gifts freely handed to us by Jesus Christ. May we willingly and faithfully receive this mercy that God is holding out to us, may we forever amend our lives to live a true sons and daughters of the Father so that we can become the saints that God has created and called us to be. Have a blessed week ahead!