We have reached Gaudete Sunday. This is the midpoint of Advent, our time of preparation, and the point of this Sunday is to rejoice! Why do we do this? It is just like lunch, actually. We have to take a break during the day to re-nourish ourselves. So this is the break in our preparations to remind us of what we are preparing for – Jesus Christ, our hope and joy.
Last week I talked about finding hope – finding hope in our sacraments, in our prayer and in our service to others. Today we Rejoice in that Hope. We rejoice that God has given us this gift of Hope.
Our Gospel today has John the Baptist quoting the prophet Isaiah from the Old Testament. That Old Testament passage that John quotes, from the book of Isaiah, was in last Sunday’s readings. During the time of John, of course, this was would have been one of the scrolls at the temple. And note, when Jesus begins His ministry it is the scroll of Isaiah that Jesus reads and then states, “Today this scripture passage has been fulfilled in your hearing.” What Jesus reads from the scroll of Isaiah is our first reading this Sunday.
Hope can be hard to understand, but we can look to our scriptures, old testament and new testament, to see the connection across thousands of years of our ancestors, that their hope was fulfilled in the coming of Christ Jesus and so will our Hope be fulfilled when he comes again. God keeps His promises – Paul says this in our second reading today: “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it.”
There is a purpose for this hope, and most importantly, we are part of this purpose. Christ made it this way. He came for us. Christ is near, so rejoice!