9. Dec, 2017

Gaudete Sunday

He has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity 

Traditionally, the third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of Joy. The joy of this Sunday comes both from the message of the readings and from the anticipation that Christmas is nearing.

We read “The spirit of the Lord has been given to me … my soul rejoices in my God for he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity.” Then we hear St Paul telling us to “Be happy at all times.” However sometimes, or more like ‘often,’ we are like a can of coke that has lost its fizzy. Often, we can just be a little flat. 

It seems a silly thing to aspire to blissful happiness and joy in every moment, when we are often carry disappointments and the cares and worries of this world in our hearts, when we can see no way out of our problems. We expect so much out of life but our outlook on life can become like a flat fizzy drink. 

When darkness descends –as it does time-to-time– we hear the remedy. John proclaims that Jesus is the light. But for light to shine through us we need to turn to and embrace that light. This is a choice. We make it 1st by baptism where we are clothed in justifying grace. However, unexpectedly, even if our whole effort is to embrace the light of Christ there will be a turning point when darkness descends. This can be because we are lukewarm. But I want to talk of how being clothed with light will lead us into a darkness describes as the dark night of the soul.

God’s light is other, and the radiance of grace penetrates our faculties, particularly our intellect. Being led by this new and strange divine light of faith that adorns us like royal clothing, means our normal means of knowing must be reset. It’s like receiving an update on our computer. With a big update we need to turn it off and reboot or restart it.

So it is with grace. All we need to in this night of faith is be faithful to Jesus and our new spiritual gifts and adornments will gradually reboot and engage in a realm of heavenly grace, not of this world. Jesus is always closest to us in these times of spiritual dryness.

Advent is a time to prepare our hearts to receive Jesus more profoundly. By making faith in Jesus the priority in our life we unburden ourselves of our worries. Faith assures us that Jesus is always near to us to draw light and strength from, even if our journey becomes obscure. And by persevering in faith we come to see something new: the divine light.

Christ is our light. With Mary let us rejoice in our God who has wrapped us in the cloak of integrity. It is something other and of God; it is something divinely beautiful; and it is something to rejoice in! Be faithful to the Spirit that the Lord has given us, and you will quickly learn how it is to be happy at all times.