Skip to main content

3rd Sunday of Advent

Patience.  Good things are coming, and are almost here, so Rejoice!  This is Gaudete Sunday (from the Latin “to rejoice”), the Third Sunday of Advent.  We celebrate that we are now past the halfway point of the Advent season.  For this one day we put away the violet color of Advent and bring out the Rose colored vestments and décor.  We light the rose colored candle in our Advent wreaths as we joyfully count the remaining days to Christmas.  Our readings remind us of the good things to come, but good things only come to those who wait…


Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
Psalm 146, 6-7, 8-9, 9-10
James 5:7-10
Mathew 11:2-11

Our first reading, again, is from Isaiah.  Here the prophet sings of the great things to come, and the land itself will rejoice and bloom.  Isaiah goes to great lengths to paint us this glorious picture of Zion, but we must also recognize that this picture of salvation comes as destruction stands waiting at the gate.  King Hezekiah has the Assyrian forces knocking on his door, so in desperation he turns to the Isaiah to ask for the Lord’s help.  While the Lord rebukes Hezekiah, he also shows mercy to his people, reminding them of the glory that comes with the Lord.  Our Psalm reflects that glory, with the promise of food, health, and protection as we sing “Lord, come and save us”

Our second reading is from the letter of James.  James, who is leader of the Christian community in Jerusalem is addressing his letter to “the twelve tribes in the dispersion,” in other words, to those early Jewish Christians who have communities beyond Jerusalem.  Many of these early Christians are getting concerned that Jesus hasn’t yet returned as was promised, so James feels the need to give them some reassurance.  He tells them that just like a farmer must be patient for the rain, we too must be patient for the coming of the Lord.

Our gospel from Matthew We continues with the story of John the Baptist.  Now much later in Matthew’s narrative, John is in prison.  Perhaps sensing his own death to be coming soon, sends his followers to see if Jesus is indeed the one of whom he foretold.  Jesus tells John’s followers to report back what they have seen and heard, then turns to the crowd to speak of John as the one who was foretold, reminding them that John’s was that voice in the wilderness to announce the coming of the savior.  Not only does this message give John the comfort he seeks shortly before his execution, but it helps the people to see the legitimacy of Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy, the Messiah promised by God.

Final thoughts:

On this Gaudete Sunday we are joyful that our patient, vigilant waiting for the Lord will be fulfilled.  We know this because the prophets have told us.  Prophets like those we heard from in our readings for this Sunday:  Isaiah, James, John the Baptist, and Jesus himself.  We too are also called to be prophets.  By virtue of our baptism we too are anointed priests, prophets, and kings.  It is our duty as Christians to speak out for what we know to be true… if not by our words, then certainly by our actions.  We are joyful this Sunday because we’ve heard the promise of the Lord, and our trust in the Lord tells us that these promises will be fulfilled.  Just be patient.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Post-Lent review... How did you do?

Lent is now behind us, yet in our excitement for Easter (and for Lent being over), how often to you take a moment to look back at your Lenten journey to do a post-game review?

As a volunteer leader and business school graduate, the concept of doing a formal "review" after an event or activity is a long held important practice... one that, unfortunately, tends to get overlooked even at the highest levels.  Still, it remains a staple of standard practice, and for good reason... It affords those involved, and the entire organization, a chance to review everything after the fact... what went well, what didn't, and lay the groundwork for next time.  The same is true for looking back at our Lenten journey.  So... how did you do?

I have to be honest, I sometimes fail to practice what I preach.  For as important as a post-lenten review might be, I hadn't thought of the idea until now.  I didn't even really think about it until this morning when I read the following artic…

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…

5th Sunday of Easter

What happens when you have too much of a good thing?  When a business wins that lucrative new contract or expands into a new location?  Or taking that same idea a bit closer to home, what happens when two families merge through marriage, or when a family welcomes a new child?  We consider this kind of growth to be a good thing, but as with all things, these successes also come with their own baggage.  Our readings for this 5th Sunday of Easter have our Apostles facing similar challenges in the face of their growing successes.

The Word for the 5th Sunday of Easter Acts 6:1-7
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
1 Peter 2:4-9
John 14:1-12

Our reading from Acts of the Apostles learning the hard way about the challenges that grow out of their continued success when their number of followers continues to grow.  Up to this point the Apostles have been doing their best to address the needs of the community, both spiritual and physical, but the community has grown so large now that they are becom…