Gaudete Sunday

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2015/12/18 at 12:00 AM

Our first and second readings today call us to rejoice! And this is appropriate, for the 3rd Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word that means “rejoice.”

And we should rejoice, because we are nearing the day of our Lord’s arrival. But we should rejoice not only because our Lord is near, but also because of all He does for us!

Last Sunday I spoke a bit about the beauty of human dignity, a dignity that shines forth perfectly in the sinless Virgin Mary.

The greatness of our human dignity is based not only in the fact that we are created by God in His own image, but that He desires the human soul to be His very own dwelling place. Our souls are designed to be a paradise for our Lord to dwell in!

Therefore, every human person – regardless of race, nationality, age, education level, or mental or physical capacity – has a dignity more sublime that we can possibly imagine.

It’s this understanding of the greatness of human dignity that underlies all of the Church’s teachings on pro-life issues. Because of the inestimable value of each human soul, we know that all human life is sacred – as is the act by which life is created.

But not only does our Lord desire to come dwell within us; He desires that we seek to be united with Him. Thus He has created the human person to worship. Indeed, the need to worship is embedded within the fabric of each of our souls.

We can see this need to worship displayed throughout the entire course of human history, for in every land and every culture of every time, religion of some sort has been present. Man has always worshipped something.

This is because it is part of man’s nature to seek out and render homage to something greater than himself. God has created us this way, but He created us this way so that we would worship Him. But this is not always the case, is it?

Alas, history shows us that man often worships things other than God.

We see this so clearly with the Jew of old. The Old Testament is filled with stories of their fidelity to God, their turning away to worship something else, and their return to

God after realizing the punishment for their infidelity.

The Jews were longing for a Messiah. Filled as they were with expectation for this

Messiah, it’s understandable that the Jews mistook St. John the Baptist for the


John was a man like no other, and his message of repentance and preparation struck

deep into the hearts of those who heard him preach. And so it is that we find the Jews

asking John for direction in today’s Gospel.

But St. John knew that he could not fulfill the longings of the Jewish people. He

knew that he was the forerunner, and that his role was to announce the arrival of the Messiah.

So it is fitting that, as we draw near to Christmas, we focus on St. John and his message of good news. He tells us that One mightier than he is coming, a Messiah who will send forth the Holy Spirit into our souls through baptism.

This Christ, in His power and might, will separate the wheat from the chaff – the good souls from the bad souls – taking the good unto Himself for all eternity, while the bad shall be consigned to the unquenchable fires of everlasting torment.

So St. John called the people of his day to repent, to prepare the way of the Lord! Even though we are living 2000 years after St. John, we should heed his message all the same.

As we consider St. John’s message of repentance and the imminence of the Savior’s coming, we must ask ourselves who or what it is that we worship. To Whom or to what do we give ourselves?

Sadly, the commercialization of this time of year makes it so very easy to forget the essence of Christmas, and to fill our souls with the mammon of this world.

In our hopes and desires that the latest and greatest thing be found under our Christmas tree on Christmas morning, we can easily forget that the best gift, the most important gift we can receive is the peace of God’s presence within our souls.

This gift of peace will only be ours if we humbly repent of our sins, confess them, and seek to follow God’s will. Peace of soul will only be ours if we worship God, rather than ourselves or some golden calf.

Brothers and sisters, our dear Lord is coming soon. And rather than coming with a shiny bauble, the latest fashion, or some technological gadget, He is coming with the gift of salvation.

Let us prepare ourselves well for His arrival and seek to make ourselves worthy of so great a gift and so great a Giver. With Mary’s help, may we worship Him, and Him alone.


16 December 2012

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

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