As the Rose candle on Advent wreaths are lit, the students of the Scots College continue the series of reflections ahead of the Nativity of Our Lord. This week, Ryan Black, from the Diocese of Paisley considers the Third Week of Advent.
“Shout for joy, daughter of Zion,
Israel, shout aloud!
Rejoice, exult with all your heart,
daughter of Jerusalem!”
With the opening words from the First Reading for the Third Sunday of Advent, we are introduced to what might be understood as a new theme in this season of preparation. Last week we heard about John the Baptist preparing a way for the Lord, and before that we heard that we must be ready for the Son of man who will come in glory. Now, however, the invitations to prepare and to hope seem to have changed; now, we must rejoice.
The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (‘Rejoice’) Sunday. This name comes from the entrance antiphon for the Mass of that day:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice… 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.”
So, it is clear. We must rejoice. Why? Because Jesus is coming! Of course it is still important to prepare and to hope, but we must rejoice too; we already know that “a Saviour, that is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11) is born at Christmas, and that He will come again in all His glory.
It is also right that we think of our Blessed Mother Mary when we hear about the “daughter of Zion” who is told to “shout for joy”. Who prepares and hopes for Christ’s coming more than His mother? Who rejoices more than the Blessed Virgin who brings our Redeemer into the world? Therefore, we can join with Mary in prayer and joyful anticipation.
Hope, prepare, rejoice! He is coming!