rose candle

‘Gaudete’ Sunday, the Third of Advent

‘Gaudete’ Sunday, the Third of Advent

Next Sunday, 12th December, is Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent. It has a special significance for us. Here, I am grateful to The Catholic Spirit from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, for giving us a brief explanation.

A Joyful Sunday. The Third Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday. The word “gaudete” is derived from the Latin words “gaudium,” joy, and “gaudeo,” to rejoice or be glad. Gaudete Sunday occurs eight to thirteen days before Christmas, and the nearness of the feast is reason for great joy. Gaudete is taken from the Entrance Antiphon: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near” (cf. Phil 4:4-5). Advent is a time of joyful expectation and eager preparation for the Solemnity of Christmas. There is joy in looking forward to the annual celebration of Christmas, but there is also joy in recalling the birth of Jesus on the first Christmas. The joy is heightened because he was born to save us from our sins (Mt 1:21b). The joy also extends to anticipation of the Second Coming, either at the end of physical life or the end of the world, the time when believers will be given the crown of righteousness (2 Tm 4:8) and a place in the Father’s house (Jn 14:2) to dwell with God and his angels and saints for all eternity.

A Joyful Colour. Rose represents joy and may be used as the liturgical colour for Gaudete Sunday. Violet remains the official colour for the Season of Advent, the Third Sunday included, because all of Advent has a penitential tone, a time to be absolved of sin and be in the state of grace for Christmas. Gaudete Sunday offers a brief respite to focus on the uplifting, upcoming joyful celebration of the Nativity. Joyful Adornments. The priest may wear a rose chasuble and the deacon may wear a rose dalmatic. Church decorations may include roses or other flowers, a rose-coloured altar cloth, drapery on the pulpit or ambo, chalice veil, tabernacle curtain, or wall hangings. The third candle of the Advent wreath is rose. Joyful Prayers. The prayers in the Roman Missal on the Third Sunday of Advent convey a joyful message. The immediacy of Christmas is addressed in the Collect, “O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity,” followed by two explicit references to joy: “enable us … to attain the joys of so great a salvation” and “to celebrate them with … glad rejoicing.” Preface II of Advent says, “we rejoice at the mystery of his Nativity” and that we are “exultant in his praise.” The Communion Antiphon contains the joyful message, “Behold, our God will come, and he will save us” (cf. Is 35:4). Two invocations in the Solemn Blessing for Advent refer to joy: the second, “may he make you … joyful in hope,” and the third, “So that, rejoicing now with devotion at the Redeemer’s coming.” Joyful Scripture Texts. In the first reading Isaiah says that he was sent “to bring glad tidings” (Is 61:1) and that “my God is the joy of my soul” (Is 61:10); in the Responsorial Psalm the Blessed Virgin Mary prays, “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Lk 1:47); and in the second reading St. Paul insists that we should “rejoice always” (1 Thess 5:16). The gospel is John the Baptist’s joyful declaration that he was sent by God to testify to the light, the one who is coming after him, the Christ! (Jn 1:7,27).

You can read Dr Scott Hahn’s Sunday reflection here and find Sunday’s readings here.