The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is the Latin word meaning “rejoice.” This Sunday is so named because “Rejoice” is the first word in the entrance antiphon for today’s Mass taken from Philippians 4:4,5:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.”
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.
The Advent Wreath on the Third Sunday of Advent
The pink candle is lit on the Advent wreath instead of a purple candle. Today we are reminded of the joy that Mary felt when the angel Gabriel told her that a special child would be born to her – a child who would save and deliver his people.
God wants us all to have joy. The angel who announced to the shepherds that Jesus had been born told them: “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people – for to you is born this day, in the City of David, a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” —Kahlil Gibran
The gift of giving
Most of us have special memories of receiving and unwrapping presents on Christmas morning from under the tree. Everyone loves to receive a gift at this time of the year. These gifts are an expression of love and how much someone means to you. Many people make wish lists and children, in particular dream of all the presents they will receive at Christmas. There is nothing wrong with wanting nice things for Christmas, however a proper balance and perspective helps make the receiving of these gifts that much sweeter.
As much fun as it is to open presents this time of year, there is something very special about giving to others, that brings inner joy. Being a blessing for others at Christmas by giving not just a gift but a simple act of kindness can bring great happiness into our lives. Christmas gives us a special opportunity to be this blessing through giving to others. It is not only a time to give to family and friends, we can also give by helping those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We can show our support by giving a donation or indeed volunteering your time to help and listen to others.
When giving to others at Christmas time, take time to remember the first Christmas in Bethlehem and the first visitors who came to visit the Christ-child and the gifts they brought with them. The shepherds who were watching over their flocks near Bethlehem were poor they brought the baby in the manger their love and adoration. Later the wisemen from the east brought expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, but more importantly they knelt before the little child and gave him honour and worship.
Sometimes we focus on the giving and on the gifts so much that we miss the fact that what we are celebrating at this time of the year is God’s gift to us. And many years later, we give gifts to one another in order to exemplify our love. Yet it is important not to forget the Greatest Gift we have received. Christ is the gift that outlives any toy or candle or device. You are invited to open this gift – it is waiting to be unwrapped and embraced.
Advent Thought for the Day
Prayer for Joy
Loving God, As we prepare to celebrate the birth of your Son, we ask your blessing on each of us. Open our hearts to the good news that you bring to us and help us to welcome your light into our lives, a light that gives us the gift of joy in the Lord. May we see that our deepest joy comes from knowing you. May this joy fill our hearts, our minds and our home. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. Together we pray: Come, Lord Jesus.
Advent Suggestions for Random Acts of Kindness this week
Check in on elderly neighbours to see if they need help or a listening ear.
Donate a coat or warm clothing to a local charity.
When out walking greet people you meet with a smile or a ‘hello’
When buying or gift wrapping a present say a short prayer of blessing for the person you are gifting.
Reflection on Sunday’s Gospel
The Joy of Waiting
Advent is a time of joy – joy in the waiting and this Sunday we wear the joyful rose-coloured vestment. The messenger in the first reading is the ‘joyful messenger’, and his joy is that God is near and God is coming. This would be the message of Jesus –that he was the joyful messenger of his Father’s love. He would be the shepherd – the one who cares, knows and actively looks after the sheep. John the Baptist is the voice of joy and energy, preaching the new message. Voices of Advent to bring God near – The central message within all the voices of Christmas. God’s Christmas voice is I love you, you are all brothers and sisters, and nothing except love is final. Not just a voice…but actively loving in word and deed. One way of touching that love is the Mass. Jesus is not really love from the sky, but food of the Eucharist, that nourishes us and makes a difference. We bring our ordinary concerns to Mass, and let God lighten them and transform them, and enlighten us with his word. The voice of God makes sense of and brings light into the ordinariness of life. God is present in his word, and in his body – we wait in joy for the Word to be made flesh.
Remember this week what makes you joyful about the coming feast of Christmas and be grateful. Lord I believe your word was made flesh and appeared among us.
Donal Neary Gospel Reflections for Sundays of Year B www.messenger.ie/bookshop/
I rejoice heartily in the Lord.
My soul rejoices in my God.
May you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is one among you whom you do not recognise.
Advent – Remembering those in need In the Advent season we are especially called to support those in need as much as we can. This week Ballygall’s focussed charity is the Peter McVerry Trust