Good Zeal

We interrupt this color…

…to bring you a rose abloom in winter.

Today is Gaudete Sunday, a day when we – for this one day only – wring the somberness right out of Advent’s liturgical color of violet. What’s left is a beautiful shade of rose to match the hope and joy of the scripture readings of this day.

Gaudete Sunday, or the 3rd Sunday of Advent, is so named because the first word of the Entrance Antiphon for this Sunday begins “Gaudete…”, or “rejoice.” On this Sunday, sensing the nearness of the Lord, we pause in midst of this pensive, yet hopeful, season to rejoice, to be glad. We interrupt the liturgical violet and light a rose-colored candle. We pull out a rose-colored vestment for the priest. Many of us wear our joy on our sleeves, putting on rose-colored sweaters or scarfs. We all, as it were, see the day through rose-colored glasses.

Yet even as we rejoice, we know we are still in the midst of deep midwinter. We still wander in the bleakness of the desert. We are, to use an image from today’s Gospel reading, still imprisoned, awaiting the coming of our Savior. Yet today, in the midst of bitter cold and swirling snow even here in the Deep South, we put on our rose-colored glasses and let out a joyous cry, knowing that Emmanuel is near.

Come, Lord Jesus.

The desert and the parched land will exult: the steppe will rejoice and bloom… Isaiah 35: 1 (from today’s 1st reading)

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