Today has traditionally been called Gaudete Sunday. The Latin tag is derived from Paul's appeal in the second reading to rejoice always in the Lord, and the Latin Mass text based on that reading. The irony and paradox of this Christian joy is underlined by the fact that Paul wrote those words in prison. But from there he could see the progress of Gods work.
Is it obvious to us?
We feel that this is not the time for joy when there is so much suffering and moral evil. It is interesting, then, that the first reading is from the prophet Zephaniah, who is almost exclusively concerned with gloomy visions of Judgment Day. Today the Church selects the only optimistic text in Zephaniah, in which the prophet has been touched by the spirit of joy. This, we are assured on all sides, is the season of joy. Let us recapture that feeling of joy in our lives and reflect it to those who are joyless.