“Pink Candle” Sunday

9 Dec

This Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday. It is “rejoicing Sunday,” as “Gaudete” is the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, taken from Philippians 4:4-5: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.”

Gaudete Sunday, along with Laetare Sunday in Lent (as an aside, to avoid confusion, remember Laetare and Lent begin with L), are the two days in which rose-colored vestments may be worn. And that’s why on our Advent wreaths we light the rose (okay, pink) candle this Sunday.

But what is this day all about? Sure, we’re getting close to Christmas, but what really is the Church teaching us on Gaudete Sunday?

The Church wants us to understand that true and lasting joy has nothing to do with our achievements or possessions. Rather, it’s all about our connection to Jesus, through whom every blessing is ours. That’s why the Blessed Virgin Mary is sometimes called “Cause of Our Joy,” because she is the human instrument through which joy incarnate came into the world and into our hearts.

I’d like to make a recommendation here, as the liturgy calls us to contemplate St. John the Baptist during the first part of Advent. When I think of St. John the Baptist, I think of this verse from St. Matthew’s Gospel: “From the days of John the Baptist the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent bear it away.” This verse motivates me to avoid getting too comfortable or complacent here, as the Gospel call is always radical and demands our resolve to go against the grain–not only on a societal level, but even more, to do battle within ourselves. A superb novel that is really a meditation on this enigmatic verse is Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away.

As Gaudete Sunday approaches, I’ll say it again: Rejoice! The Lord is near!

One Response to ““Pink Candle” Sunday”

  1. Nicole December 19, 2011 at 2:48 am #

    Gaudete Sunday is always one of my favorites…it’s like the apex on the hump of expectation in my mind in regard to the approach of Christmas! Gaudete, or “rejoice, you all!” Also…I like the rosacea candle and vestments. I find it a bit eyebrow-raising that some people, lay and ordained, find it a point of comedy to see the priest dressed in what they term “pink.” I even know of one priest, I think on Laetare Sunday, being heckled by the Westboro Baptist “church” crew when they drove by and saw him outside the Church building in his vestments after Mass…which was sad. I mean, come on…it’s a liturgical tradition…let’s be adult about this! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: