The central theme of today’s readings is the command "Rejoice!" We are to do so mainly by realizing the presence of Jesus in our midst and by receiving him into our lives through our repentance, our renewal of life and our doing of God’s will. Today is called “Gaudete” Sunday because today’s Mass begins with the opening antiphon, “Gaudete in Domino semper” (“Rejoice in the Lord always”).
Today we light the rose candle of the Advent wreath, and the priest may wear rose vestments, to express our communal joy in the coming of Jesus as our Savior. We rejoice because a) we are celebrating the day of Christ’s birth, b) we recognize his daily presence in our midst, and c) we wait for his return in glory.
In today’s first reading, the prophet Zephaniah encourages Jerusalem and Israel to shout out for the joy of expecting its deliverance from the Lord.
Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, was a bit of a rogue character. He embraced life in the wilderness and preached a challenging message of change and repentance. John the Baptist was living as a missionary disciple before Jesus ever called His first disciples! Consider the wilderness that exists within you, within your own heart. How does the message of John the Baptist stir that wilderness into action? There is no need to fear or tame your wild heart -- instead, explore that place within you and allow the Holy Spirit to draw you deeper into your own commitment to being a disciple. A life of stewardship is not always easy or popular. Use this holy season to make a transition from the comfortable to the uncomfortable ... from the calm to the wilderness.
Indeed, all parishes within the Diocese of Honolulu are restoring the Original Order of the Sacraments of Initiation between 2018-2020.
In the early Church, the person was immersed into the waters of Baptism, anointed with chrism, and shared in the Eucharistic meal as part of a single event. Over time, and for many reasons, the celebration of these three sacraments became separated from one another. In the renewal stemming from the Second Vatican Council, the Church was asked to more clearly set forth the intimate connection of Confirmation with the whole of Christian initiation. This original order also helps us recognize that sharing in the Eucharist completes our initiation into the Church and that it is Eucharist which is the “source and summit of our faith.”
Go to www.catholichawaii.org for more information on this