3rd Sunday of Advent

Scripture Readings: John 1:6-8,19-28, Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11 &1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is the Latin word meaning “rejoice.” This Sunday is a joyful reminder that our salvation is near. Genuine Christian faith does not make us long-faced; it should make us enthusiastic and happy. In our first reading, from Isaiah, the prophet is filled with joy. He has the anointing of the Spirit to bring, in the name of God, ‘good news’ of encouragement, healing, freedom, and an outpouring of God’s special favour.

The second reading from 1 Thessalonians – the earliest writing of the Christian Scriptures – is chosen for our Advent liturgy, no doubt, because it rises to a climax with its reference to ‘the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’. But it is a good choice, because it takes up today’s theme of joy. Paul’s reference to those things that unite that early Christian community provides a useful checklist as we evaluate the life of our own communities: ‘constant prayer’, thankfulness to the Father, offered in and through Christ; an openness to the promptings of the Spirit that comes through members who are in tune with God’s ways (‘the gift of prophecy’); and the ‘peace’ that is the fruit of all these shared blessings. True joy comes with the experience of what we are made for; the joy brought by Christian faith, the joy all true believers have experienced, the joy that only God can give, comes through the things Paul speaks of.

Today’s liturgy can serve to remind us of today’s call to ‘New Evangelisation’ – bringing the true joy of the light of Christ to a world in which there is so much darkness and pain. When the task seems beyond us, let us remember with Prophet Isaiah, that we are working for God’s future; let us understand with Paul that it is first and foremost the quality of our lives together that will bring people to share our faith; and let us learn from the Baptist that the effectiveness of our outreach will depend upon the unselfish commitment we have made to the Saviour and what He stands for.

MASS: VIOLET: Is 61: 1-2a. 10-11; Lk 1: 46-48. 49-50. 53-54; 1 Thess 5: 16-24; Jn 1: 6-8. 19-28ADVENT WEEKDAY

Prayer Points:

1. I lift my heart up to You, Lord, to thank You for the blessings, you shower on me each day. You are the ‘joy of my soul.’ I know that in your great love, I am held and protected by You. I pray and listen to the good news you send; I ask and feel the healing. I am freed by You from the things in this world that let me hide from You. I rejoice, I rejoice, down to my soul. Help me to prepare my heart to be open and able to receive your immense love in the name of Jesus

Exercise: Tell God to make you an effective messenger of the Good news

Meditation: Philippians 4: 6-7

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