We have reason to rejoice on this third Sunday of Advent, when the Church reminds us that the Lord is near at hand. Soon we will see Him lying in the manger…just a little while more and we can fall on our knees with the shepherds before the King of Kings. Rejoice, the promised Redeemer, Whom the prophets foretold, for Whom so many generations prayed and yearned, is almost here. No matter the circumstances, we can always have cause for rejoicing because God has taken on human flesh, He has reached out His own hand to save us, and it is the hand of a tiny Baby, a Baby Who is also God. Many artists have depicted the lineage of Our Lord in paintings of the “Tree of Jesse”, the above being just one example of many to be found. The name is taken from Isaiah 11:1 “And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.”
Today is called “Gaudete Sunday” because it is the first word of the introit for today’s Mass, taken from Phillipians and Psalm 85:
Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione et obsecratione cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob