Gaudete! That means Rejoice! The Entrance Antiphon for this Sunday’s Mass in Latin says: “Gaudéte in Dómino semper: íterum dico, gaudéte. Dóminus enim prope est.” It means: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.” Fr. John Zuhlsdorf at his website wdtprs.com says it well: “This Sunday’s nickname, “Gaudete” means “Rejoice!” Gaudete, an imperative of gaudeo and the first word of the Introit chant, sets the theme in the Novus Ordo and the older, Traditional Mass: joy. Advent is not strictly a penitential season the way Lent is. Since Advent is about the Lord’s Second Coming, not just His joyful First at Bethlehem, we also prepare through penance, joyful penance, or maybe penitential joy. We sing Alleluia but not the Gloria. During Advent flowers and ornaments are put aside and musical instruments are not to be used, except organ to sustain congregational singing… except for today, when the discipline is relaxed. Gaudete parallels Laetare Sunday in Lent (which also means “Rejoice!”). Therefore, today is the only other Sunday we have rose (rosacea) colored vestments.”
So the Rejoice of this Mass is not Rejoice as in at a birthday party, a wedding, or a graduation. Perhaps it could best be said that Gaudete (Rejoice) means we are on the way towards celebration. So at this time there is still penance to be done, but the Feast of the Nativity draws near! I liken this Sunday – Gaudete Sunday – to a child before Christmas. They can’t wait to open their Christmas presence. They can feel the joy welling up inside them. It is hard to contain. It is hard to be patient. So the faithful prepare to celebrate not just the coming of Christ in the flesh as an infant at Bethlehem, we also prepare for the Lord’s Second Coming in glory. Hence we must be about preparing for his coming. This Sunday is one of a few great and ancient traditions of the Church that were not wiped out during the liturgical changes of the late 1960s. To be honest so little by way of our ancient heritage was left untouched.
Never before in the history of the Catholic Church itself has so much been stripped away by one generation. In times past the great liturgical tradition of the Church grew much like a slow-growing tree. It grew imperceptibly. There were moments of slight pruning in the past, but generally each generation handed on the same patrimony. The changes were so small between the generations. This is because no generation owns the liturgical and devotional patrimony of Holy Mother Church. My hope is that true authentic liturgical development – development as we had it over 2,000 years of the Church – begins to flourish once again. My hope is to be able to hand on more of our liturgical patrimony than was given me. This is not something to be fearful of. It is the treasure of our Catholic Family!
Last week I spoke that the school roof loan of $110,000 was paid off over 3 ½ years. The note was for 5 years. Your generosity made it possible to pay off quicker. We are now concentrating on the school debt incurred in the past three years. It is roughly $269,000. I know it is a big and scary number. We are budgeting back repayment and have setup a Rainy Day fund to house extra money. Anything not budgeted as income will be put in the Rainy Day fund. Summer is a hard time for parishes with schools as tuition income stops for two months. Should we make it out of summer with money in the Rainy Day fund this will go to pay down our debt. Thank you for your generosity! -Fr. W.