As you may know, traditionally this Sunday is called Gaudete — or Rejoice — to indicate a shift in awareness and emotion prompted by the closeness of the coming of the Anointed One into the world. It is marked visually with rose vestments and candles. No offense to rose, or pink, but maybe the “alert” colors of neon orange or yellow would be better suited for today.
As with a road detour, we’re at a crossroads. For the remainder of days leading up to Christmas, we can be guided by the past, by our nostalgia, by how we’ve done it every year. Or, like John the Baptist in today’s Gospel, we are called to ponder the presence and newness of God that is hidden in humanity, especially the most vulnerable and in the poor. John had to stretch his sense of God in his life to make room for the Savior, and so do we.
This year we have the wonderful coincidence of celebrating these themes on the verge of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, when this joy was made real anew, in our continent, just outside Mexico City, in 1531 when the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared on the cloak of the peasant Juan Diego with an abundance of roses.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the woman of hope, giving us great hope for the hidden presence of God in our midst. Like John, her example calls us to repentance, to care for the poor, and to work for justice. And especially today, she calls us to wake up and to rejoice in the presence of God among us.