Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete: Dominus enim prope est.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed the Lord is near.[1]

This beautiful line from St Paul’s Letter to the Philippians is today’s Introit and gives this 3rd Sunday of Advent its name.  The full introit is:
‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.[2]

We rejoice that Lord is near as we look ahead to the 25th of December, less than two weeks from now.  With the birth of our Lord we can take strength from He who made us. With His gift of coming among us we see Him and know Him better. We can take on His attributes of gentleness and patience; we can live within His love. We can attain the desire of our hearts. The celebration of the nativity of Lord is getting so very near – we can hardly keep within our skins, as the saying goes.

But for us, this evening, we can repeat: ‘Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete: Dominus enim prope est.’with an even more immediate focus.  We can rejoice that in a few minutes we can meet the Lord and reconcile with Him.  We can take part in His gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation – we can turn towards Him and embrace Him in humility as He once again embraces us in loving welcome.  No worries should cloud our hearts and minds, He will embrace us!  Our Lord is waiting; His presence is among us and He desires our embrace.

St. Paul, in today’s Second reading tells us:
May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.[3]

All we need to do, each of us, to make this hope, this prayer of St. Paul happen, is to return to Christ tonight – allow our Lord to give us His gift of mercy, forgiveness, healing.  Push away any uneasiness about this meeting. It is not a meeting of punishment; it is one of thanksgiving – ours for His gift to us – His for our homecoming.

Let’s not miss this opportunity, this special and beautiful moment of embrace with Christ.

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete: Dominus enim prope est.[4]


[1,4] Philippians 4:4
[2] Philippians 4:4-6
[3] 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24


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