I often think of my high school Latin teacher. We – all eight of us – persevered through four years of Latin because of Sister Thomas Aquinas. We not only learned a great deal of Latin but were treated to at least 45 minutes each school day of rejoicing in the love of learning and sharing community. We were confident not only of the love Sister Thomas had for her subject but also the joy she took in us. And it was a great lesson in reciprocal feeding. We loved her and the language too.
Today is Gaudete Sunday in Christendom. One can hardly get through the lectionary readings without a feeling of joy and confidence entering our inner space at the command to rejoice (Gaudete!). Zephaniah, a seldom heard from voice in the Hebrew Scriptures, leads off with the call to rejoice and be glad with all your heart because God will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in his love – even singing for joy because of you. But it doesn’t stop there. Paul tells the Philippians and us this morning to rejoice in the Lord always and have no anxiety at all because that will bring us the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
I listened this morning to a vibrant young woman speak about what she called “the rejoice choice”* – choosing a way to be that is not tied to outcome or circumstance but rather to a deep conviction of God’s presence. What a great message for this Sunday when the celebration of the Incarnation is so near. Let us all remain in this stance of expectancy and rejoice!
*Catholic Women Preach – Elyse Galloway