The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Gaudete Sunday, Third Sunday of Advent Year A - 12th December 2010

Today is the third Sunday of Advent and is known as Gaudete Sunday.  Gaudete is a Latin word which means "Rejoice".  This Sunday's special name comes from the opening hymn that was sung on this day when the mass was in Latin.  Today is distinguished from the other Sundays of Advent by the fact that the priest wears pink vestments during the mass although many parishes do not have pink vestments and will wear the purple vestments proper to advent.  The only other day in the year on which pink vestments are worn is the fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday).  Also, today is the day on which the pink candle on the Advent Wreath is lit.

The significance of the colour pink is that it is considered to be lighter than the purple used throughout the rest of Advent.  Purple is the liturgical colour for penance.  Pink is used to remind us that Christian penance is always done in a context.  That context is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  The fact of his resurrection underlies every action of our faith and liturgy.  Our penance is a discipline which is to prepare us to face the rigours of life that lie ahead of us.  The brightness of the colour pink is a reminder to us that life is not just about discipline and hard work.  Our lives must be full of joy because Jesus has conquered death and because of that we are sure of our own resurrection.

No matter what penance we undertake we do so joyfully because we are preparing ourselves not just for a hard slog but for a joyful reuniting with Jesus who is returning to take us with him.

As we prepare for Christmas - in so many ways - it is important that we do not lose sight of two things.  Firstly, it would be a shame if we were to forget the reason for our celebration which is that God so loved the world that he sent his only son.  This is the reason for both our penance and our joy.  Joy at this great event and penance which is the discipline which prepares us to receive this great gift.  Secondly, at a very human level, Christmas is a time for sharing, for families, for children and our focus on penance should never allow us to forget the overwhelming joy we receive from one another by our sharing, our exchanging of gifts and our time together.

Gaudete means rejoice - this is not just a suggestion but almost a command (it should possibly be translated as "Let ye rejoice").  Christians must be joyful.  We are the people who know that we are loved and this is the message that we have to share with the world - this is probably the best gift we could ever give.


Article posted on 11th of December 2010

Click here for a printable version of this page
Web Analytics