On the Gospel of Matthew 11:2-11
Third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete Sunday
This Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Advent, is known as Gaudete Sunday (gaudete means ‘Rejoice’ in Latin). The last two Sundays we have been focussing on the need for vigilance and repentance. All this had the aim of clearing away space within ourselves for God to grow something beautiful in us. This Sunday has a different flavour: now we take a look at what is growing and give thanks for it, our mood changes from one of vigilance to one of joyful expectancy. The first two readings (Isaiah 35:1-6,10 and James 5:7-10) present us with these themes of growth and hope. The Prophet Isaiah imagines the response of the land to the coming of God: ‘Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom, let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil, let it rejoice and sing for joy’ (Isaiah 35:1,2). The Letter of James tells us to ‘think of a farmer’ who patiently ‘waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains… Do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon’ (James 5:7-8).