Today is Gaudete Sunday (Latin for Rejoice). We’re called to be happy because the coming of the Lord is near and the call resounds in all the readings for today – from Isaiah to John the Baptist. As is often the case, Paul is among the messengers urging faithfulness with an enthusiasm that is hard to ignore and then at the end reassuring his listeners that God will surely fulfill all promises. I can almost see him gesticulating emphatically in the town square of Thessaloniki to those he is trying to convince. My impression is that it would be hard to ignore the man or the message. Here is the crux of it:
Brothers and sisters, rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit! Do not despise prophetic utterances…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 accomplish it! (1 Thess 5: 16-24)
So then, let us rejoice, as we count the days toward new birth!