Today we celebrate Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete (“Rejoice”) is taken from the Latin translation of Phil 4:4-5. This Sunday sets a tone of joy for Jesus coming into our lives at his birth and Second Coming too. Celebrants have the option to wear rose-colored vestments if they wish. This would be a sign of that joy.
More interestingly, I think, is the gospel story today from Luke 3:10 to 18. John the Baptist is a burly, very large Old Testament man. His hair would have been disheveled. He would have been hairy all over and wearing a loincloth. He would also have a very loud, booming voice. Yet, people are coming from every walk of life, Jews and Gentiles alike, to be baptized by John.
Although he is loud, hairy, and big, his message is one of love and kindness. He teaches people to share with others. He encourages tax collectors to stop stealing and tells the soldiers not to extort or falsely accuse anyone.
People began to wonder if this might be the Christ, the Messiah they had been waiting for since the beginning of recorded history. John is quick to clear their minds, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. “
John is a tough old bird. He is strong as an ox and adamant about what he is teaching. He fears no one or anything, yet his mission is to teach love, kindness, and fairness. Have we lost our way along our journey? Is it time for us to change the way we live? If so, what better day to start than today, Gaudete Sunday!
Peace and All Good!