Gaudete Sunday | iPray with the Gospel
Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”
Today is ‘Gaudete Sunday’. Gaudete is the imperative form of ‘rejoice’. We open the Mass today with the words of St Paul: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” (Phil 4:4) It is a command: rejoice, because God is coming. Rejoice, says the liturgy today, because our days of darkness are close to their end, dawn is nearly here! The sun is rising: the Son is coming.
St John was in prison. He knew his time was over and then sent his disciples to Jesus. The question they asked Jesus was a ‘Yesor- No’ question. But Jesus didn’t say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. He said to them: ‘Look around!’ It is easy to recognise the effect of God’s love: the blind seeing, the lame walking, the deaf hearing, lepers cleansed and dead people alive and kicking… You can imagine the blessedness in that atmosphere. That was the best of parties because where God is, there you find joy.
Venerable Monste Grases was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 17. In her pain she never stopped smiling. Such was her constant joy that her mother doubted if she had understood her illness properly: ‘Montse, do you think you will get well?’, she asked her daughter. ‘No, mum’, Montse replied from her bed, ‘but why don’t you open the blinds – wide open – I need light and joy in the room. Why don’t we sing something?’ Then she started singing. Mum cleared her throat and joined…but dad covered his face with the newspaper to hide his tears. Montse interrupted the song and said, ‘Dad, I can’t hear you. I want you joyful always.’ She died shortly after, with a smile in her face.
Mary, Cause of Our Joy, with the coming of your Son just around the corner, may I never lack joy: “Don’t be gloomy. Let your outlook be more ‘ours’, — more Christian.” (St Josemaría)
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).