Rose Colored Masses
Sometimes we are guilty of elevating the symbol over what is symbolized. Christians are particularly prone to this temptation. How often do we don crosses on our bodies or hang them in our homes and never really reflect on what is represented? In Lent it is easy to get caught up in the ashes on Ash Wednesday and the palms and palm crosses on Palm Sunday and never really contemplate what we are asked to enter into. Today is no different. On the third Sunday of Advent, we proudly wear pin…uh, rose. We make a big deal of it because it’s different and not many churches and traditions keep this ancient practice, save the third candle in the Advent Wreath. As fun (and yes, liturgical practices can be fun) as Rose on Gaudete Sunday can be, let us not forget why we are feeling rosy in the first place.
Had we had mass last Sunday, I would have talked about the role of the prophets. A prophet helps us see that we actually need God. Prophets stir up within us the recognition that we need to prepare our hearts for God and take the necessary steps that preparation demands. Most of us, thank God, came out just fine from Snowmaggedon. Sure, we may have lost power for a few hours or slipped on the ice or suffered from cabin fever, but it could have been much worse. What saved us was preparation. We knew the storm was coming. We might have doubted the meteorologists, but they were spot on. We had bread, milk, shovels, and all we needed. When the snow came, we could enjoy its beauty and play like children. If we were not prepared, the scene would have been a different one. Preparation marks the difference between joy and judgement. All during Advent, our scriptural and liturgical focus has been on preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ in glory as our Redeemer and Judge. An unprepared soul receives the coming of Jesus Christ with anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. A prepared soul receives the coming of Christ with joy. We’ve been waiting for him, longing for him, and we are ready for him. We wear rose not because we are trying to be playful, but because we are prepared. It’s not a joke. It’s joy.
Fr Steve Rice, Rector