Celebrating the Third Sunday of Advent


"Rejoice: the Lord is nigh." As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing nigh when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom.


Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, "Rejoice". Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath.


The first reading from Isaiah reminds us that the Spirit of the Lord is upon us because the Lord has anointed us. How do we bring glad tidings to the poor? How do we heal the brokenhearted, bring liberty to captives, and proclaim a year of favor from the Lord? Is it by expressing joy, offering a smile, a phone call, a card, or e-mail? Is it by giving a donation for those who are struggling with a shortage of food or the security of a place to live? Is it giving extra time in prayer?


As we look forward to the true joy of Christmas Day, let us ponder how we can keep that Christmas joy in our hearts throughout the year and bring those around us hope and peace.


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O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord's Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.

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