"The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God."
The Third Sunday of Advent is often called "Gaudete Sunday" because the first word of the entrance antiphon for this Mass is "Rejoice" ("Gaudete" in Latin). It would be the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe if it were not a Sunday in Advent, so there are multiple reasons for rejoicing today. It is also a day in which the Mass readings speak to us of patience. Isaiah's beautiful vision given above is a future event, not a commentary on the present time. The passage from the letter of James is even more specific, giving particular directions on how to wait in patience for the coming of the Lord. Although we are halfway through Advent, it is hard to wait in patience for Christmas. Still, we rejoice today, knowing that Jesus has come into our world as our Savior, knowing that He will come again in glory on the last day. Until that great day, we wait patiently!