Sunday, December 11, 2016

Third Sunday in Advent

Gaudete Sunday - "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!"

All the readings can be found here, but I wanted to focus on St. Paul's words for today...
EPISTLE Philipp. 4:4-7Brethren: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety, but in every prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God. And may the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
When St. Paul was writing to the Philippians, he was in prison.  He had every reason to be down or depressed, but his words to the Church at Philippi are to REJOICE!  The lesson for us here is simple, we are to rejoice in the Lord - not only when things are going well, but even when - and especially when - things are not going so well.  Have no anxiety, but be full of thanksgiving - at ALL times!  

So here is your challenge for the rest of Advent, and hey, for the rest of your life!  Let the world see your moderation, your calm and collective nature - and let them see God working in your life.

Just one additional note... today we did not light the "pink" candle!  The priest is not wearing "pink" vestments, nor are the alter vestments "pink!"  Liturgically speaking, it's "rose!"  Yes, you will find sites, even Catholic sites, calling it "pink," but it is really a subdued "rose" color - to signify "joy" - which is also the name of this Sunday, "Joyful" or "Gaudete" Sunday.  During this season of Advent - which, contrary to commercial propaganda, is a time of penance (like Lent).  However, on the Third Sunday of Advent, we look eagerly for the coming of the Lord and we rejoice in His coming.  Lent too has Laetare Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent (midway through the penitential season of Lent), and Laetare also means "joy," and thus the for the same reason - a break from penance and a turn toward "joy" exists during both seasons.

OK, one final remark...  it's NOT CHRISTMAS YET!  I wish you all reading this a Blessed Advent!  I will reserve the "Merry Christmas" greeting for after the celebration of the Christ Mass.

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