Gaudete Week

Our week begins with “Gaudete Sunday.” Gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin. It comes from the first word of the Entrance antiphon on Sunday. The spirit of joy that begins this week comes from the words of Paul, “The Lord is near.” This joyful spirit is marked by the third candle of our Advent wreath, which is rose colored, and the rose colored vestments often used at the Eucharist. The second part of Advent begins on December 17th each year. For the last eight days before Christmas, the plan of the readings changes. The first readings are still from the prophesies, but now the gospels are from the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke. We read the stories of faithful women and men who prepared the way for our salvation. We enter into the story of how Jesus’ life began. These stories are filled with hints of what his life will mean for us. Faith and generosity overcome impossibility. Poverty and persecution reveal glory. We prepare this week by feeling the joy. We move through this week feeling a part of the waiting world that rejoices because our longing has prepared us to believe the reign of God is close at hand. And so we consciously ask that any sadness be removed to make way for joy. Each morning this week, in that brief moment we are becoming accustomed to, we want to light a third inner candle. Three candles, going from expectation, to longing, to joy. They represent our inner preparation, or inner perspective. In this world of “conflict and division,” “greed and lust for power,” we begin each day this week with a sense of liberating joy. Our celebration of the coming of our Savior in history, is opening us up to experience his coming to us this year, and preparing us to await his coming in Glory. During this beginning of our parish’s anniversary year let’s know we are invited and urged to look for the joy that has been part of Immaculate Conception for 50 years. The joy of growth, the joy of relationships and the joy of challenges shared. Come, Lord Jesus. Come and visit your people. We await your coming. Come, O Lord. (excerpts from Creighton Un. Online Ministries)