Daily Office Lections: Amos 9:11-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 13-17; John 5:30-47
Happy Gaudete Sunday! "Gaudete" is a Latin verb which means "rejoice." The verb is second person plural in the imperative mood. Thus, it is an exhortation for (you all) to rejoice. And why? Why do we, in the midst of the penitential and preparative season, rejoice? Because our king, Jesus, arrives soon! As we heard in the epistle this morning, James 5, the coming of the Lord is near. Thus, the pink candle on the Advent wreath, as Fr. David pointed out in his sermon this morning, symbolizes the joy that we have as the coming our Savior and King draws near.
We've turned a corner as it were. Our awareness is heightened, and our repentance is deepened. There's a sense of urgency and excitement.
It makes me think of training for a marathon. In fact, I'll be running one four weeks from today. And the way I feel about the race is analogous, I think, to how the Church should feel on Gaudete Sunday. I'm excited because it's getting close. I only have one more week of training before I start the taper (the period of training where one reduces mileage and rest in order to be at 100% for the race). Tinged with the excitement is a sense of urgency. Because the race is close, I don't cast aside "repentance" and preparation. On the contrary, I'm very conscious about making good choices over the next 28 days so that I can be ready for race day.
We're getting close. And because we're close, there is joy -- joy for the arrival of the King and, therefore, the Kingdom of God. The prophet Amos turns from the destruction and judgment of Israel to the restoration that the Lord will bring --- images of feasting and celebration (e.g. drinking wine in verse 14). There is Eucharistic imagery in the passage, and all that Amos foresees finds its fulfillment in Christ and the Church.
So let us rejoice for in just a few days, Christ will be born afresh in our hearts and we will experience afresh the fulfillments of the promises of God and the prophecies of His word.