Today, the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, we’ve added some holly and a small pine tree to our Mary Garden on the porch and flowers and evergreens to our chapel.“Rejoice always,” St. Paul says in our second reading at Mass. Why rejoice today? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through whom all things were made, has come as our Savior. In 12 days we will celebrate his birth.
Who rejoices? John the Baptist rejoices today, announcing forgiveness in the desert. From ages past, the Prophet Isaiah tells us all through Advent to rejoice. “I rejoice heartily in the LORD, in my God is the joy of my soul…As the earth brings forth its plants, and a garden makes its growth spring up, so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise spring up before all the nations.”
Today we have statues of Mary and Joseph before an empty crib near our altar. These figures of great faith tell us to rejoice as we wait for the Child.
The flowers and evergreens now in our chapel are voices of creation telling us to rejoice. They represent our created world joyfully proclaiming this mystery. They reach back, like the bread and wine, through time. Flowers, represented by poinsettias, came to being 200 million years ago; they prepared the way for us human beings who needed their nourishment before we could be.
We have many evergreens on our property. After the Laurentine glacier receded from Long Island 12,000 years or so ago, the small plants that sprang up on the tundra were succeeded by evergreens, the first trees here. They wait through the winter, ever green.
Today we rejoice with them.