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Why The Pink?

Probably most of us are aware that the 3rd Sunday of Advent traditionally uses the color pink, or rose. 

Some may know that the name of this Sunday is Gaudete Sunday, which translates to “Rejoice” Sunday.

But do you know why the 3rd Sunday of Advent uses this liturgical color or why it has this name?

Let’s start with the 2nd question. The name of the Sunday comes from what is called the Entrance Antiphon of the Mass. Every Mass, Sunday or weekday, has a given entrance and communion antiphon. You can find them in the missalettes, usually a short scripture quote, and they echo what is written in the big book on the altar, called the Missal.  We (sadly) across the Catholic world have largely lost the use of the antiphons and have defaulted into regularly using entrance and communion hymns.  BUT, they are still there, and have great and rich meaning.

The entrance antiphon for the 3rd Sunday of Advent comes from Philippians 4:4, where St. Paul urges the Church to…you guessed it…rejoice at how close the coming of the Lord is.  So the antiphon begins: Gaudete Domino semper, that is, “Rejoice in the Lord always!”  The title comes from the scriptural antiphon. Cool.  But why rose/pink?

The color of the advent season is a rich purple. The color of the Christmas season is a radiant white. The symbolism of the pink or rose color comes from the radiant, white, beginning to overwhelm the rich purple. That is to say the anticipation and excitement and joy of the coming of Christ should now start to overwhelm our sense of preparation. Kind of like the line from my favorite Christmas song, O Holy Night: “long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared, and the soul felt it worth.”

Joy is not a sentiment we can manufacture, but rather comes from the authentic encounter with love, truth, beauty, and goodness.

May your drawing close to the celebration of the birth of Christ, and His drawing close to you with the consolation of great joy, as you receive Him this weekend.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Michael

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!
All you Holy Saints of God, pray for us!