Prepare for Sunday Mass: On Gaudete Sunday, have patience — and rejoice! Each week in OSV Newsweekly, Carl Olson provides a thoughtful, relevant reflection on the Mass readings for Sunday in his "Opening the Word" column. The following is just an excerpt, but you can read the entire column here.

From Carl Olson:

During Advent, we are called to awaken, to repent and to rejoice. The latter is especially emphasized on this third Sunday of Advent, which is Gaudete Sunday (from the Latin word for “rejoice”), and the readings refer to joy, exultation, glory and gladness. Each of these important actions are a response to what is at the heart of Advent.

The prophet Isaiah looked toward a time when the desert and parched land would be filled with new life and echo with the sounds of “joyful song.” In other words, this would be a time of spiritual renewal and blossoming, the result of God’s coming to save, to heal and to restore. God, proclaimed Isaiah, “comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you.” The arrival of the Lord can seem so far away, especially amid the dust and disease of this tiring life. “The desert is the world that God has not yet visited,” wrote Father Hans Urs von Balthasar about this passage, “but now he is on his way. Blind, deaf, lame, and mute is the man whom God has not yet visited, yet now his senses open wide and his limbs loosen up.”

Ransomed from the disease of sin and healed of physical illnesses, those who faithfully await the coming of God will eventually be “crowned with everlasting joy ...”

Read Olson's entire column to prepare for Sunday Mass.

Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.