GAUDATE SUNDAY The 3rd Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete Sunday.” On this, Gaudete Sunday, we sense a definite mood change. The austerity of what can be a sombre though hope-filled season is replaced by a shift of emphasis. We see a burst of colour appearing at the Mass today as rose-coloured vestments replace the violet, the third ‘rose’ candle of the Advent wreath is lit and we are enjoined in the Entrance Antiphon to: Rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice or Gaudete in Domino semper, hence Gaudete Sunday. But why this shift in emphasis? We are edging nearer to celebrating the coming of Our Lord at Christmas, that is undeniably true, but looking at today’s Gospel we also see that we have built upon last week’s message of preparation and now we see John the Baptist actively proclaiming the Coming. ‘I baptise with water, but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me, and I am not fit to undo his sandal strap.’ John the Baptist’s proclamation is sure and certain, filled with hope and, one must assume, wholly joyful. Can we also feel in the depths of our hearts such joy as we hear this news in these troubled times? Pray God we can!