The Church celebrates the third Sunday of Advent today. It is known as Gaudete Sunday because the opening words of the Mass coming from Scripture, “Rejoice”, coming from the Latin Gaudete –rejoice — is the entrance antiphon for today and the controlling idea of the second reading from Philippians in Year C of the lectionary cycle (“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice! The Lord is near!).
On Gaudete Sunday the priest may wear either violet or rose vestments and we light the rose candle on the wreath. This custom of rose vestments is a 10th century practice (one that we observe on the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday). In the season of Advent, the color rose is a sign of anticipatory Christmas joy as it also marks the midpoint of Advent.
Up to December 16 the Liturgy focuses our attention and preparation on Lord’s coming at the end of time; then as time nears the Nativity (December 17-24) we begin to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ Nativity on the feast of Christmas.
Joy is the basic Christian attitude; no joy, no true and authentic Christian discipleship. Mary, the Mother of God is also the first disciple of joy! Even she is clad in rose!!!!