Skip to main content

3rd Sunday of Advent

“Shout for Joy!”  The opening lines of our first reading express the feelings we should be having during this third Sunday of Advent.  Also known as Gaudete Sunday (Latin for “rejoice”), we celebrate that we have now past the half-way point of our penitent reflection… the “hump day” of Advent, if you will.  What have we to be so joyful about?  Our readings provide the answer…


Zephaniah 3:14-18a
Psalm 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke3:10-18

Our first reading comes from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah.  Though we don’t hear from Zephaniah very often in our Sunday Liturgies, and though the book itself isn’t that long (only 3 chapters), the importance of his message not only can be seen in his predecessors Jeremiah and Baruch, but may even have had a profound effect on the Judean monarchy itself by moving King Josiah to begin his campaign of religious reform.  Our passage this week, though similar to the passages we heard from both Jeremiah and Baruch these past two weeks, seems to come with even greater earnestness and joy.  Though he has seen the fall of Jerusalem, he sees a glorious return for the people of God.  This joy is further echoed in our Psalm as we sing “Cry out with joy and gladness:  form among you is the great and Holy One of Israel” which shows us that the Lord is our savior… an image that works for both our Hebrew and our Christian interpretations of this Psalm.

Our second reading comes from the conclusion of Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  Also echoing the joy in our previous readings, Paul exhorts us to “Rejoice in the Lord always!”  That through our kindness, and by offering everything up to God, we will in turn find the peace of God through Christ Jesus.  Another way to look at this passage would be to see it as Paul’s version of “Don’t worry, be happy!”

After all this rejoicing then, our Gospel from Luke takes a more somber, practical tone.  Picking up shortly after where we left off last week with the introduction of John the Baptist, we now see him surrounded by a crowd asking him questions.  They want to know what they must do to avoid God’s wrath, and he provides sound advice to everyone… To share what they have.  To the tax collectors:  don’t collect more than prescribed.  To the soldiers:  don’t extort or bear false witness.  This mixed audience (Jews and non-Jews) start to think that he might be the Christ, but he quickly refutes that idea, stating that “one mightier than I is coming.”

Final Thoughts:
Christmas is coming… we can really start to feel it (especially when the weather gets cooler).  For students and children they can almost taste the joy of the coming winter break from school.  For others, the coming holiday means a satisfying break from work.  Liturgically this joy is represented by the rose colored candle of our Advent Wreath, and the rose colored vestments which may be worn by the priest at Mass.  But though we are joyful, we’re not there yet… not quite ready.  As John the Baptist reminds us, the one who is to come is preparing to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Our salvation is secured by our Baptism, but how have we been living up to our mission of living and preaching the Gospel?  Now is the time to let our joy transform us, like it did for Ebenezer Scrooge in the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.  In these final weeks of Advent, we need to seek forgiveness and reconciliation… let go of the baggage that holds us down and allow the joy of the season, and of our faith, to shine.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

3rd Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent marks the midpoint of the season… in Catholic terms, this is like “hump day”, where we happily see that the conclusion of our journey is within sight.  Referred to as Gaudete Sunday, it takes its name from the Latin word for rejoice.  We will hear this word several times throughout this Sunday's Mass in our prayers and our readings.  We light the rose colored candle on our Advent wreaths, rose being a mixture of Advent violet and Christmas white.  Not only is Christmas a joyous occasion to celebrate the birth of our Lord, but it reminds us that we are joyous (not fearful) of his return.


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

We open with a great announcement from Third Isaiah, that the anointed brings glad tidings to the poor.  If his words sound familiar, they should.  Not only are they reminiscent to the announcement made by the angels to the shepherd in th…

4th Sunday of Lent

This Sunday we continue our Lenten journey through Salvation History with a continued focus on covenant.  We’ve already given witness to the covenants with Noah, Abraham, and Moses.  This week we turn our attention to the Davidic Covenant (the covenant with King David), or more accurately, the covenant with the monarchy of Israel.


The Word for the 4th Sunday of Lent 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23
Psalms 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Ephesians 2:4-10
John 3:14-21

Our first reading comes from the end of the 2nd book of Chronicles.  Though our intent this Sunday is to remember the Davidic Covenant, our Lectionary has chosen an interesting approach.  Rather than give us a story about King David, we are presented with a story  from the end of the Babylonian Exile.  Why approach the covenant with David from this tail-end view? 

It’s an approach that actually fits very well with the Book of Chronicles, for you see, the Book of Chronicles is much more than a retelling of the story we heard in books …

Nuns and Nones... continued...

On 6-24-2016 I wrote a brief commentary on what we call the "nones"... that is, those people who check the box that says "none" when asked about their religious affiliation.  That commentary was based on an address by my former high school's principal at their 2016 graduation address.  But this topic of the "nones" returned to my attention with this article posted on our daily Angelus News email from the e-magazine Crux:

Notre Dame debuts digital platform to reach young Catholics, ‘nones’
Please take a moment to read it... 

Of particular interest is the increasing number of "nones," those people who claim no religious affiliation. I first heard this term a few years back from one of the speakers at our LA Religious Education Congress. The term itself grew out of a 2012 Pew Research study that showed this rising trend. Working as I do with the RCIA and Adult Faith Formation, this was a known issue, but the Pew study validated what ma…