For most of us, the idea of "going home" brings eagerness, comfort and joy, whether it be simply after a long day at work or, in some cases, a much longer period of separation.

It's good to be home. When we walk up to the door of our house, we anticipate the good things behind it: family and loved ones waiting for us; things familiar to us; a place where we can be most truly ourselves, most truly "at home."

Advent, in a sense, is a homecoming – a return to the Church and all that it offers: a family; things familiar; the opportunity to be “at home” with God and one another – all things to celebrate with joy.

Today, the third Sunday of Advent, is traditionally called “Gaudete Sunday,” a Latin word from the ancient prayers that begin this day’s Mass telling us “to rejoice.” Advent is the doorway to the joys of Christmas when Jesus came to dwell with us; the joy of encounter with Christ!

Our first reading today from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah tells us “the Lord is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear … the Lord God is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in his love.” That’s what is waiting for us, that’s who is waiting for us on the other side of the door. Come in; come home; find the mercy you need and share it with others.

Our second reading from the Letter to the Philippians encourages us “have no anxiety at all but in everything, by prayer and petition and thanksgiving,” make peace with God and let that peace guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!  Come in the door; come home; find the mercy you need and share it with others.

Our Gospel reading from St. Luke presents John the Baptist inviting us how to ready ourselves to meet the Messiah: give what you have; do not take advantage of others; no more gossiping or judgment; hear the good news and proclaim it.  Bring your living faith to the door and come in; come home; find the mercy you need and share it.

The Season of Advent once again opens the door to the Savior, so there is reason to rejoice.  As we anticipate the great feast of Christmas, the Church opens the door to forgiveness – seek it out from our Savior through the Sacrament of Penance. What are you waiting for? On this Third Sunday of Advent, “Gaudete Sunday,” rejoice in the Savior’s compassion and love. Enter into the joy of the Lord and make yourself at home.