English Español Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Gaudete Sunday

The day takes its common name from the Latin word Gaudete (“Rejoice”), the first word of the introit of
this day’s Mass: Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

This may be translated as: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.” (Phil 4:4–6; Psalm 85:1)


Third Sunday of Advent

Advent is a time of waiting. This is a difficult art to learn in a world that now tends to move with ever- increasing speed. You would think that all our time- saving devices would have left us by now with a vast capital of spare time. But the opposite is the case. We have less time than ever. Pascal famously said that all our troubles come from our being unable to sit still in a room for five minutes. He lived in the 17th century; what would he say to us now, when computers have increased the speed of life a thousand-fold? (But he would probably want to take some of the blame: it is he who invented the first mechanical adding-machine, and a computer programming language was named after him.) Learning to stop and be still and wait is not a luxury; it is now a matter of survival.

Our way with food can be a good indicator of our way with many other things. A greedy person doesn’t know how to wait but has a blind compulsion to eat, a compulsion that is unrelated to hunger and even to enjoyment. Greed doesn’t even see what lies before it, and so it never knows any surprise. It is waiting that gives flavor to food, and to our life too.

Advent is about the possibility of surprise. Not some self-indulgent expectation (“surprise me!”), but a dawning awareness that my life as I know it is only a shadow of what it is meant to be. We are often told that we use only a small percentage of our brain’s capability. If this is so, why should we not suspect that we are using an even smaller percentage of our spirit’s capacity? All our frenzy of living will not help us to use more of it, but rather less.

There is a kind of frenzy about John the Baptist. He is rough and violent in his speech. And you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near him if you were a locust! Yet for all his vehemence (or because of it), his message is rather conventional: “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you…. Be content with your pay.” He has none of the depth or the stillness of Jesus. He is not a man to give you time or space. You feel he doesn’t see anything in you. Most people are “chaff” to him (as they were to the scribes and Pharisees), but for Jesus they are “harvest” (Luke 10:2). Harvest is something you have to wait for, but you can make chaff of anything right away.

We have to learn to wait for the harvest: not a harvest of our own devising, but God’s gift.

Mass Readings

First Reading

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has removed the judgment against you he has turned away your enemies; the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear. On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.
— ZEP 3:14-18A

Responsorial Psalm

R. (6) Cry out with joy and gladness:
for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation. R/
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name. R/
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel! R/
— IS 12:2-3, 4, 5-6

Second Reading

Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
— PHIL 4:4-7

The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people.
— LK 3:10-18

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