A few weeks ago, I spent some time with the various levels of our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Program. The children had been learning about the colors of the liturgical season. They learned that Green is for Growing, Red is for Pentecost, Purple is for Preparation and White is for celebration. The color to which they had not yet been introduced is rose. Some parishes use rose and others do not, but here at Saint Maria Goretti Parish, the priest and deacon don rose only twice a year: Gaudete Sunday in Advent and Laetare Sunday in Lent.
The use of rose indicates that while Advent and Lent are periods of preparation, there is, in fact, a purpose for the preparation. Lent, of course, prepares us for Easter and Advent prepares us to celebrate Christmas, both of these festive and joyous periods in our liturgical life are celebrated with white or gold.
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas during this Advent, we do so with a sense of penance as we await the Second Coming, the Judgement of the Living and with anticipatory joy of remembering the significance of the First Coming, Christmas.
Advent also brings with it the new lectionary cycle. This means that this year, the principle evangelist we will hear from is Saint Luke. This is a particularly pertinent gospel for our present time because Luke seeks to show a continuity in the Church. Beginning with Jesus and from his apostles, the Church is grounded in the witness of the Lord’s life, his teachings and of his death and resurrection. The integrity of the Church has suffered throughout human history, but despite all of its infractions, The Church remains solid in Christ who is without sin. A second message of Luke was to demonstrate that the Church could be a legitimate form of worship and deserved to live in religious freedom in the Empire. Even today, we are aware of the value and necessity of religious freedom.
May this Advent time of Preparation lead us to Gaudete Sunday which in turn leads us to the festive celebration of Christmas and our duty to live our lives in the Spirit of Christmas until the Lord Jesus comes again.
Fr. Thomas Hallsten