Advent Journal: Day 15–Gaudete

john-baptist and the Pharisees_Tissot

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Dominus enim prope est. 

-Philippians 4:4-5

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God.                                    -Isaiah 61:1-2a

“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.                                                    -John  1:27-28

Do you need proof that the voice passes away but the divine Word remains? Where is John’s baptism today? It served its purpose, and it went away. Now it is Christ’s baptism that we celebrate. It is in Christ that we all believe; we hope for salvation in him. This is the message the voice cried out.                                   

-From a Sermon of St. Augustine of Hippo

This Sunday in the Roman liturgy, the third Sunday of Advent, is known as “Gaudete Sunday,” for it begins with the antiphon taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians:  “Rejoice in the Lord always; I say again, rejoice, for the Lord is near.”  As we approach the end of Advent, in the week leading up to the Nativity of Christ, the readings of Holy Scripture present the picture of John the Baptist, the great Forerunner.  He is a model for all of us who wish to be the center of attention, who envy the starlet and the celebrity.  For John knew that “he must increase; I must decrease.”  He knew he was not the messiah, and in John’s Gospel tells the Pharisees so.  He knew, as St. Augustine wrote, that his message must pass away, to announce the coming of the true Message.  So must our lives be.  Whatever we do, we are going to pass away; we are condemned to death, cursed to face our own mortality knowingly, as no other creature (that we know of) must do.  We cannot raise our selves from the dead; we must hope in another.  And the one, the only one, is Christ Jesus, who dwells in perfect light with God, the Father.  True God and True Man–he has brought them together.  If he is false, we are dead, even though we live; but since he is true, we have hope that our life may be in Him.  That is why we must speak our word though it pass away, though it seem futile to us.  We speak it, that we believe in Jesus Christ, that He may come, and save us on the last day.  This is why Advent is the season of hope:  that we may look forward to the day of the Lord’s vindication, when he will heal our afflictions, purge us of our sins, and through our suffering redeem us to everlasting life with the only one who can love us as we were made to be loved, forever, in perfect peace.

~ by Alypius on December 18, 2017.

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