Last Sunday was “Gaudete Sunday”, so called because the specified Introit for the day was “Gaudete in Domino semper …” (“Rejoice in the Lord always …”) This is a helpful reminder that this season of Advent calls for joyful anticipation of our Lord’s coming as well as penitent preparation.
Even if we are not ready (and, in and of ourselves, we cannot become ready) for his coming), because of what we have already been given and the assurance faith gives us that he is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love”, we ought to be eagerly and joyfully anticipating his coming, and in fact rejoicing at the news that he is coming or has come. Only the most worthless servants of a kind master, as the “Parable of the Talents” illustrates, would not rejoice at their master’s return. And as believers, we are not only servants, but children, how much more should we rejoice!
The message of Advent is the same as the message proclaimed by John the Baptist, and by Jesus himself at the beginning of his ministry: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” But, because we have been promised (regardless of our unreadiness) a share in that kingdom and (more importantly) a share in Christ’s righteousness, its message to us who have believed its message is also, “Rejoice, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” And, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice!”