…from the Pastor’s Desk:

Happy Gaudete Sunday!

Gaudete Sunday happens every year on the third Sunday of Advent, and the word ―Gaudete is the Latin word for ―rejoice. While most of the other readings for the season of Advent are written in a somber tone, the readings for today are meant to remind us of an important and joyous event: the birth of our Lord.

This Gaudete Sunday we pause and reflect on the joy of this holy season. How can we not rejoice when we meditate on the wonder of God’s love for us, the wonder of God sending His own Son to save us and the wonder of God’s love that surrounds us always.

Of course, we can look at our world and think that it is a total mess, which many say it is. We can think of all the evil in the world, and there is also truth to that. We can think of all of the suffering of innocent children and that is a reality that should bring us great concern and compassion.

At the heart of the world, however, is love. For those of us who believe, this is an act of faith. How our world changes when we believe in the Scriptures, especially those that are given to us today for this Third Sunday of Advent. The prophets saw what God could do in the world and hoped that it would come about, but they were patient, knowing that God’s time is not our time. God will renew all creation. God will do this when the time is His time.

Advent is about our waiting for the Lord to come into our world and into our lives. We ourselves can be bearers of that presence in our own lives—only if we believe and strive to live that belief. May this Advent strengthen our faith. May the Holy Spirit give us the courage to proclaim the presence of the living God. One of the greatest signs of our faith is the joy that we can have in living for the Lord. Instead of being anxious and preoccupied with all the evil in our world, with the terrible things that happen, with climate problems etc., we can radiate the joy of knowing the presence of God. Let us rejoice in Him and be glad!  “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.”Isaiah 61closeIsaiah 61 The Year of the Lord's Favor 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
but you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy. For I the Lord love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed. 10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations. (ESV)
closeIsaiah 61closeIsaiah 61 The Year of the Lord's Favor 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
but you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy. For I the Lord love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed. 10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations. (ESV)
The Year of the Lord's Favor 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
but you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy. For I the Lord love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed. 10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations. (ESV)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Here are a few words about this feast from the former pastor (now deceased) of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lakeport, CA.  A few years ago I asked his permission to steal his article and he gladly gave it. He was a faithful friend and brother Franciscan – please keep him in your prayers.

Here are his words – I couldn’t have said it any better!

Father Ron

Dear Folks, This Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, we lay aside Advent’s violet vestments and are arrayed in the joyful hue of rose. The dominant theme is JOY!  The Scriptures tell us to “Rejoice in the Lord always.”  The word “rejoice” is the “act of being with joy”, so the Bible means that we are to have joy in the Lord always. But what is joy exactly? Joy is not about having a cheerful disposition or a life that is always full of fun and laughter. Instead, joy is a state of being in which deep contentment reigns.  Joy is an essential spiritual practice growing out of faith, gratitude, hope, and love. It is the pure and simple delight in being alive. Joy is not only our elated response to feelings of happiness, experiences of pleasure, and awareness of  abundance, but it is also the deep satisfaction we know when we are able to serve others and be glad for their good fortune. Joy comes from our awareness of God’s presence in our lives and our realization of God’s purpose for us in living our lives. You might think that my own present situation is rather like John the Baptist in prison, waiting for the inevitable end. Where is the Joy in that? Yet, I can assure you that this is the most joy-filled Advent of my whole life.

God love you!” Fr Leo

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