Today we celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, Rejoice Sunday. The Church in her wisdom has long assigned rose as the liturgical color of this day. Rose first of all turns our minds to Our Lady, who has always been associated with roses, partly because both are beautiful, but also because Mary has so often used roses in her apparitions. It has been a very Marian week if you consider it, what with Immaculate Conception on Tuesday and Our Lady of Guadalupe yesterday. (Roses play an important role in Guadalupe as well, but more on that another time.) We had 1000 people in this church for Mass yesterday for Our Lady of Guadalupe and a massive party afterwards, and a ton of people for Las Mananitas at 6am. Talk about rejoicing! Mary has a way of bringing folks to church. She has brought 22 million to baptism over the years, to the church, to Christ. Today’s words from Luke are fitting: “Even tax collectors came to be baptized…” Roses and Mary go together. So it is fitting there are 600 roses under Our Lady of Guadalupe in this church.
Another reason for rose color on this Sunday is that dark purple is the normal color for Advent, and this is a Sunday on which we are meant to lift our spirits a bit. I have to admit, I feel a bit like a walking Pepto Bismol bottle. And it strikes me that maybe that’s what we are supposed to be–walking Pepto Bismol bottles.
You see, we are meant to be people who make others feel better by our presence in their lives. People should be happier in the office when we are there, happier because we lift their spirits. Folks should miss us if we aren’t in school one day for whatever reason, miss us because we bring something good to the place that no one else does. When we come home at day’s end, folks in the house should be happier we are there, happier because of how we make them feel.
We should be the type of people who brighten a room when we are there, who reflect the light of our Christ in every room we walk into. We are meant to reflect the light that emerges from that crib in Bethlehem and goes around the world and down through the centuries. It happens through you and me.
Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman once said something about how there is great dignity in making others feel good. After all, as I tell the kids all the time, God made us special. We should help others remember they were too.
Which means we should be walking Pepto-Bismol bottles, making others feel better by our being a part of their lives. Perhaps this Rejoice Sunday should be more about “giving joy” than trying to find ways to “get joy.” Of course, the beauty is this: when we give it, we get it.
May God bless us all during this Advent season. We have so much to rejoice about!