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There is a Change...

     Today the church celebrates the third Sunday of Advent. We have made it past the half way point, and now there is a 'shift' in the season in two main and noticeable ways: firstly we have a shift in the style of readings, and secondly we light the rose coloured candle.  That is, today we celebrate Gaudete Sunday. The rose coloured, inspirational Sunday.

    The word, " Gaudete" translates, from Latin, to " Rejoice." This feast was named on the first word on the Introit, or entrance hymn for this Sunday. In Latin it is, " Gaudete in Domino semper" and in English the phrase is, " Rejoice in the Lord Always" It is this Sunday that we have the rose vestments, the purple is fading into pink and then into white. It is to be a sign for us to stay focused, for the Lord is coming soon.

    Just like lent, Advent is a time of penance, fasting, and giving, however it isn't stressed as much as the Lenten period. During both seasons (Lent and Advent) we are preparing for the Lords coming into the world, to save the world. The rose is to be a sign of inspiration and a sign for us to stay focused, to continue praying, fasting and doing penance. A sign for us that Christ is just around the corner.

     Just as the feast says, we are suppose to rejoice this Sunday. The purple penance is fading into the beautiful, freeing white. We are told to rejoice, and begin adding final touches. Making sure that everything is neat and tidy for the Lord. The Gospel readings mood has also changed. It has gone from instructions for preparing for the Lords coming , to a more joyful, enlightening readings.

     In today's Gospel, John is being questioned by a group of Jewish priests and levities on his identity. The very first statement he says is, " I am not the Messiah." John denies it right away, and acknowledges that his role is to testify for the Lord and that he was sent to prepare the people. The writer of Johns Gospel makes it clear by saying, " He [John] himself was not the light but he came to testify to the light" He was sent not to be the messiah but rather to testify to the messiah. John understood his role.
    John then says something that sparks my curiosity, " Among you stands one whom you do not know." Why does this spark curiosity, I am not sure. But what I am sure is the question that it arises within me, who do I not see Christ in? At the time John was preaching, Jesus would have been alive and well, but has not started his public ministry. So it seems to be that the Son of God is hidden from the people, but alive and active among the people. They didn't see Jesus living among them, but where do I not see Jesus? Where do I not see the living Jesus in my life.

     During Advent we are challenged to find Christ in each person. We are challenged to look for the good in everybody-even those who annoy us the most. God is calling us to find Christ and make him living in our lives. John points out that the SON OF GOD lived among people and they were blinded, however, our challenge is to find God in each person. Giving everyone the same respect and dignity regardless of their lifes situation.

      Finally, the Gospel concludes with John remark, " I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal." For masters with slaves, the job of unting of the thong was one of the lowest jobs someone could have been given. So John uses this to describe the immense divinity and holiness that Christ holds. If we believe that Christ is in and with everybody, shouldn't we be treating others with the same humility?

     On this  Gaudete Sunday, may we come to rejoice in the Lord, for the Lord is coming soon. May we come to find Christ in each individual and to live our lives with humility and peace. May we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord, and rejoice in the fact that he is coming soon!




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