Gaudete Sunday

The Third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete Sunday,” Joyful Sunday! The church invites us to be joyful because the birth of the Lord is near! “Gaudete” is the Latin word for “rejoice.”

You know, St. Paul uses the word REJOICE more than 20 times in all his letters. In his letter to the Thessalonians, he admonishes the people to rejoice always, Gaudete semper: Rejoice in hope, rejoice in obedience, rejoice in the truth, rejoice over repentance, and rejoice that the Lord is near.

Now, if rejoicing is God’s will for us, then why does it seem that it is harder to find joy than to feel sad? Why do we struggle to become joyful and happy?

We easily get upset and disappointed by the daily events without looking at the brighter side of things. You know, most of the time we allow certain things to dominate our time and attention, and they can rob us of our joy. We let worries consume us, fear preoccupy us, and what-ifs always make us doubt. Most of the time we focus and count our misfortunes rather than our blessings. Most of the time we see the blessings of other people and fail to recognize ours. Failing to see our blessings leads to complaining and judgement. We see the glass as half empty, hence we become prone to criticize rather than compliment, to discourage rather than encourage. These things really just drain the joy from our lives. As I always say, there are things that we can repair, recover and save. Things that are beyond our control, let us leave them to God. It is up to him to decide for us.

The most fundamental threat to our joy is when we rely for our happiness on anything other than God. If we set our desires on material things, money, prestige, the affection of other human beings—we may find brief moments of pleasure in them. But in these fleeting things, we will never find lasting joy. Real joy comes from God and Him alone. Let us always strive to find joy in things that will bring us eternal happiness!

—Reflection by Fr. Michael Gazzingan