May we find joy in journeying along the way of Christ during Advent
Reflections on the readings for the Third Sunday of Advent (December 13, 2020): IS 61:1-2,10-11; LK 1:46-48,49-50,53-54; 1 THES 5:16-24; JN 1:6-8,19-28
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
St. Paul reminds the early members of the Church that, despite their trials and afflictions, they have every reason to live with joy and to remain faithful to the message of Christ.
Gaudete Sunday, or the Third Sunday of Advent, gives us the opportunity to embrace the joy of this season. Even though we see purple used as the usual liturgical color for this time and we think of it as a penitential period, that is not strictly the case. While it is certainly good to offer Christ our prayer, charitable acts and sacrifices, Advent is not Lent. Hope is the essential element of these days leading up to our celebration of the birth of Jesus. The Latin word Gaudete means rejoice and this is the first word of today’s Entrance Antiphon. Instead of a purple candle, the rose-colored candle of the Advent wreath is lighted. We are called to entrust ourselves to the hopeful, joyful, compassionate light of the Son of God: Jesus born to the Virgin Mary in a stable; Jesus trained by His foster father to be a village carpenter; Jesus the itinerant preacher who died on a cross to redeem His people of every age of the world from sin and death.
In the second reading today, St. Paul reminds the early members of the Church that, despite their trials and afflictions, they have every reason to live with joy and to remain faithful to the message of Christ. “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.… May the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, 23). As disciples of our Lord, we must be prepared to do what He asks of us even when we face hardship as individuals or as part of a community. Our Savior will always be with us as we try each day to do good, to love others and to be the holy people He calls us to be. And He wants us to know that as we follow in His footsteps, there will always be a place for joy.
Suggested missionary action: We can celebrate Gaudete Sunday by meditating on the joy of the Lord’s coming at Christmas. If we have been using an Advent wreath or calendar, we pray that God helps us to rejoice in His love and to share His love.
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