Skip to main content

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.


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 the Nativity narratives, but these are the same words Jesus reads in the synagogue in Nazareth, after which he proclaims that this prophecy has been fulfilled.  Indeed, such news from God, in any age, is cause for great celebration.

Our responsorial Psalm mirrors this joy and praise to God, but its source and its voice are not what you might expect.  This passage isn’t from the book of Psalms… it’s from the Gospel of Luke, and it’s voice isn’t from David or an anonymous psalmist, but from the Virgin Mary herself.  Taken from a passage referred to as the Canticle of Mary, this song of praise follows right after she and the pregnant Elizabeth greet each other.  Both the message and the messenger are fitting for this Gaudete Sunday.

Our second reading comes from the concluding verses of Paul’s 1st Letter to the Thessalonians.  His direction to “rejoice always” are words we ourselves would do well to follow.  But this isn’t a reckless kind of rejoicing, for in the same breath Paul reminds us that we must also pray and give thanks.  Our rejoicing comes from the gift of Spirit, given to us by Christ, so that we may find what is good in preparation for the coming of Christ.

This takes us to our Gospel, this week from John as he proclaims the coming of John the Baptist.  Our theme of rejoicing continues here as our messenger is almost giddy with anticipation for the great one who is to follow.  As the end of our Advent Season looms on the horizon, we too should be joyous for the Lord’s coming.

Final Thoughts:
Although Advent is meant to be a contemplative season, much like Lent, it carries with it a joy and anticipation that is hard to contain, and Gaudete Sunday is meant to reflect those feelings.  As Catholics this Sunday affords us the opportunity to celebrate the coming of Christmas in a special way.  For me and my family, this is when we go out and get our Christmas tree.  Like incense in church, that fresh pine scent fills the house telling us that the Christmas season is almost upon us.  Some folks say, “what?  you’re only now getting your tree?”  Some years this can be difficult as many tree lots are already closed, but we began this tradition in an effort keep from getting caught up in the commercialization of the holiday.  To keep ourselves more grounded in the traditions of Advent and remind ourselves that Christmas isn’t just a secular holiday, but a Catholic holiday with it’s own celebrations and traditions that go beyond all the secular traditions.

Remember, Advent is a reminder that we don’t need to rush Christmas.  Gaudete Sunday reminds us that we are anxious and joyous, but it doesn’t mean we have to put up all the decorations over night… It wasn’t all that long ago where Catholics wouldn’t put up a tree until Christmas Eve.  Nor do we need to get everything packed up right away on December 26th… because we Catholics know that it’s only day 2 of a 12 day celebration!  Christmas isn’t over… it’s just beginning!  Isn’t that something to be joyous about!.  So join me as we embrace the spirit of Advent and take this time to prepare, both our home and our spirits for the Christmas season that is still to come.  Like Mary and Elizabeth, we take this time to rejoice, pray, and give thanks to our God for the gift of his son.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…