"Rejoice Sunday." That is the subtitle title for this Third Sunday of Advent. Years ago the violet or purple color of the vestments was altered for one day to a rose color. This is the Sunday the pink candle of the Advent wreath is lighted. Children help us at this time of the year to be excited in anticipation of something special. The dictionary offers some rather startling definitions for the word "rejoice": clap, shout, exult, festivity. All words used to help describe rejoicing. For many people, this season brings a great deal of hectic activity. Although much of it is oriented toward the celebration of Christmas, we tend to forget that rejoicing is supposed to flow from a singular reason: the Lord Jesus. "Rejoice in the Lord always!" That is the advice of Saint Paul. As the season of Advent moves closer to Christmas, perhaps we need to remember these words and be less frantic about all the other preparations.
We are now at the midpoint of Advent. At least chronologically, that's where we are. Where are we spiritually? What changes have we made? What preparations have we made? What kind of gift are we becoming for Christ and for others?
Advent also brings us back to John the Baptizer. The great John the Baptizer wasn't initially convinced that Jesus was the one to come. A lot of the time our lives are like that - we look to something else to help us, to save us. Despite John's shortcomings, Jesus calls him the "greatest man born of woman." As wonderful as that title is, Jesus says we are even more fortunate. "The least born into the Kingdom of God is greater than he." That's us, isn't it? No wonder our church calls this "Rejoice Sunday"!
[Source: Sunday Bulletin, St. Paul's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; December 14, 2008.]