The Advent of Joy 5

Desert Rose, a Sign of Contradiction, expresses the meaning and color of Gaudete Sunday

Desert Rose, a Sign of Contradiction, expresses the meaning and color of Gaudete Sunday

As I’m going over tomorrow’s readings for Gaudete Sunday, I find myself asking with John the Baptist, am I looking for the right thing?

The first words of the first reading: the desert and the parched land

Second reading, first words: Be Patient…

In the first line of the Gospel reading we learn: John the Baptist is in prison….

I thought Gaudete Sunday was supposed to be about Joy!

Where is the JOY?

I think we are meant to pause on that question and ponder it until we find the answer, which is staring us right in the face. This is, in fact, what Jesus Christ invites John the Baptist to do in the Gospel. He invites the crowds to do the same. It must be what he is asking of us.

"The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom" -- Isaiah 35:1

“The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom” — Isaiah 35:1

Jesus makes it clear that this is not the season of melancholy. Gaudete Sunday is all about joy, but as a reminder, Gaudete Sunday is not the joy we are looking for. It’s rather like a window in Advent. We are supposed to look through the window, not at the window.

As in the first reading, if you focus on the first words and stop there, you will miss the point. That would be like only seeing a desert in the picture above and missing the rainbow.

In our everyday lives, it’s easy to focus on the mundane and stop there. If we only allow ourselves that much, we need to stop, smell the roses, see the beauty in it all, and take time to be thankful for it all. We need to take time, when we pray, to praise God for all the good things in our lives and to praise him for who he is in our lives.

In tomorrow’s liturgy the Church invites us to take that pause and recollect about all these good things, to recognize and appreciate God’s presence in our everyday lives, and to REJOICE in that!

Do you want to make it simple and practical? Here’s an easy thing you can and should do — because it is Gaudete Sunday. Have a cookie.

Gingerbread -- the Advent cookie

Gingerbread — the Advent cookie

I’m serious. Enjoy something simple and good. A cupcake or a cookie. Or something bigger if you like, not to indulge yourself but to give yourself a little boost, to boost your joy. Because if you aren’t feeling that joy on Gaudete Sunday, why not? You are supposed to. So make it happen!

While you are at it, make it spiritual, make it a prayer. Take just a moment to enjoy something good and think about the good things all around you. Then transcend that thought, for as long as you want, spend that moment in Christ’s presence, thanking him for that moment and rejoicing in it.

That is what Gaudete Sunday is all about. And of course it is about the Joy that is to Come. Ponder that eternal moment while you are enjoying your cupcake too.

Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord!



It’s Gaudete Sunday! And soon it will be Christmas.

So go on! Have a cookie! Just do it!

Oh, and we’re back in the business of posting our Advent songs. Bet you can’t watch this and not smile!


  1. Pingback: Commentaries and Resources for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year A « The Divine Lamp

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