3rd Sunday of Advent (c)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
The Season of Advent. (c)
Sunday 13th December: The 3rd Sunday of Advent (c).
Traditionally today is called ‘Gaudete Sunday’ or ‘Rejoicing Sunday.’ The reason for such joy is that the day of the Lord is coming nearer.
In the first reading, from the Prophet Zephaniah, the prophet appeals for joy. The Lord is in the midst of his people so there is no need for fear. We too can take heart from this message of hope.
St. Paul echoes this theme in the extract from the Letter to the Philippians. Be happy, he says and be tolerant. The Lord is very near.
St. John the Baptist, in the Gospel, announces the Good News and makes it very clear that is not the Messiah but is preparing the people for his coming. He tells the people what they must do to prepare for his coming.
Monday 14th December: Memorial of St. John of the Cross.
The great Spanish mystic was born in 1542 in Spain. From his early years he wanted to become a monk and eventually he joined the Carmelites and studied at Salamanca in Spain. He worked with Teresa of Avila to reform the order and this caused him much suffering. He believed and practised contemplative prayer. In his classic ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’ he writes of the times when he lost the taste for prayer and became spiritually dry. He is a patron for us when we find it difficult to pray. He died in 1591
Tuesday 15th December: Tuesday of the 3rd week of Advent.
The first reading today is from the Prophet Zephaniah. He is looking forward to the day when the people are freed from their sin and sinful way of life. He repeats the promise of the God of Israel to give his people clean lips, who will do no wrong; who will tell no lies. It will be a time of peace and contentment when the Messiah comes.
The Gospel passage presents us with the figure of John the Baptist again. It highlights that the scribes and Pharisees were so blind that they could not see how the people repented in response to his teaching and so prepared for the Messiah. They would not accept John or his teaching.
Wednesday 16th December: Wednesday of the 3rd week of Advent.
In the first reading, we return to Isaiah. He gives us a great poetic text, written to give consolation to the downtrodden Israelites. God will bring salvation to his people. He is a God of integrity and a saviour.
John is again the key character in the Gospel. To strengthen their faith he gets his disciples to meet Jesus and ask him about himself. By the example of his life Jesus shows how he is fulfilling what the scriptures said of the Messiah.
Thursday 17th December: Weekday of Advent by date.
These are special days now when the thought of the expected Messiah grows in intensity. The kingship will never pass from the house of Jacob into which Jesus will be born. Each of these last days of Advent has a special short prayer or antiphon appealing to the Lord to come. These are known as the ‘O’ antiphons.
This week we also try to understand how Our Lady felt as she looked forward to the birth of her son. The people of Israel were very conscious of their family tree, their genealogy. Today we have the genealogy for Jesus, traced through Joseph back via David to Abraham, the father of the chosen people.
you come forth from the most high,
You fill the universe and hold all things together
In a strong and gentle manner.
To teach us the way of truth.
Friday 18th December: Weekday of Advent by date.
When the kings of God’s people had not fulfilled their mission of guiding the people to God, the prophet Jeremiah announces that God himself will become the shepherd of his people. The promise of the Messiah is made.
In the Gospel, we are given the fulfilment of the promise – Joseph is told of the conception of Our Lady’s child who is to be called Jesus. Think of Joseph’s faith!
Shoot of Jesse,
Who stands as an ensign for the people,
Before whom kings shall shut their mouths,
Whom the gentiles shall seek after,
Come to deliver us.
Delay now no longer.
Saturday 19th December: Weekday of Advent by date.
The promise and the birth of Samson are narrated. He will be consecrated to God and from God he will receive great strength that he will use to protect God’s people.
The birth of John the Baptist is announced by the angel Gabriel in today’s Gospel. Like Samson, he will be consecrated to God. He will lead many back to the true worship of the God of Israel. Zechariah couldn’t fully accept what was being said to him and loses his power of speech until John is born.
Key of David
and sceptre of the house of Israel.
You open a door that no man can shut.
You close a door that no man can open.
and bring bound out of the dungeon him
Who is sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.