Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)
Click on www.catholicbishops.ie/readings for our readings in English and Irish for the third Sunday of Advent.
As we journey in Advent and look forward to Christmas, we celebrate our joy at the coming of the Lord. Joy, prayer and thanksgiving should characterise Christian worship. Patient waiting for the fulfilment is our Christian duty. There should be no complaining, no giving up or losing heart. Joy, prayer and thanksgiving should characterise the Christian community. Because the man of integrity has come with good news for the poor, we can exult for joy. But his coming will mean that we also will practice justice and integrity.
The Advent Wreath on the Third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete Sunday
Gaudete Sunday is the Third Sunday of Advent. Like Lent, Advent is a penitential season, so the priest normally wears purple vestments. But on Gaudete Sunday, having passed the midpoint of Advent, the Church lightens the mood a little, and the priest may wear rose vestments. The change in color provides us with encouragement to continue our spiritual preparation— especially prayer and fasting— for Christmas.
For this same reason, the third candle of the Advent wreath, lit today, Gaudete Sunday, is traditionally rose-coloured.
Advent Thought for the Day
Each day during Advent we are bringing you an audio Thought for the Day on a different theme. Today’s Thought for Today is from Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighton. In this piece Bishop Nulty reflects on the third Sunday of Advent and asks ‘What must we do?’. He also introduces the Jubilee of Mercy.
The Words of Pope Francis
Pope Francis – Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)
Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid. A mere glance at the Scriptures is enough to make us see how our gracious Father wants to hear the cry of the poor: “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them… so I will send you…” (Ex 3:7-8, 10). We also see how he is concerned for their needs: “When the Israelites cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up for them a deliverer” (Jg 3:15). If we, who are God’s means of hearing the poor, turn deaf ears to this plea, we oppose the Father’s will and his plan; that poor person “might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt” (Dt 15:9). A lack of solidarity towards his or her needs will directly affect our relationship with God: “For if in bitterness of soul he calls down a curse upon you, his Creator will hear his prayer” (Sir 4:6). The old question always returns: “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods, and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?” (1 Jn 3:17). Let us recall also how bluntly the apostle James speaks of the cry of the oppressed: “The wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts” (5:4). – Evangelii Gaudium, 187.
Pope Francis on Twitter
Advent increases our hope, a hope which does not disappoint. The Lord never lets us down. – @Pontifex.
Advent Prayer Intentions
1. We pray for all parents and teachers;
that they may help the new generation to grow
in faith and love.
2. We pray for all those who work to care for the sick;
doctors, nurses, carers, those who work in hospitals
and hospices and all who offer support and care to families
in times of illness.
Jesse Tree Prayer
Heavenly Father, bless this tree, a reminder to us of
your covenanted love, shown to your people,
our ancestors, through the events of history in
ancient times. May your son Christ, the shoot of
Jesse, the true vine, invigorate us with his life and love,
so that we may become his living branches in our world today.
Source: The Veritas Book of Blessing Prayers
Guadete is an up-tempo, jovial 16th century Christmas carol. This is a performance by Anúna as part of the “Anúna : Celtic Origins” show with arrangement by Michael McGlynn. Click here to listen.
The O Antiphons
The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17-23, with December 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.
The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common sayings. We might conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.
The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.
We will be looking at the “O Antiphons” in more detail from December 17th.