Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Third Sunday in Advent

As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts at all that the birth of our Saviour means....

We light the third candle in our Advent wreath. The rose candle.

Rose marks a break from the usual violet or purple of the penitential side of Advent.

We pause. We rejoice. We realise how close we are to Christmas, to the joys of celebrating the birth of Our Lord.

The lighting of the third candle in the wreath, the priest wearing rose vestments, the readings about St John the Baptist, all these remind us to prepare for Christmas, for the coming of Our Lord...and of joy and rejoicing.

Externals mirroring our internal life of prayer as Christians.

Advent has the characteristics of a penitential season which makes it a kind of counterpart to Lent, the middle (or third) Sunday corresponding with Laetare or Mid-Lent Sunday. On Gaudete Sunday, as on Laetare Sunday, the rose-coloured vestments are allowed instead of purple . All these distinguishing marks help us remember that Gaudete Sunday, therefore, makes a breaker like Laetare Sunday, about midway through a season which is otherwise of a penitential character, and signifies the nearness of the Lord's coming.

We recall the hope we have because of the coming of Jesus.

In Advent, we not only celebrate the first coming of our Lord, but eagerly prepare for His Second Coming as well.

Gaudete in Domino semper

Rejoice in the Lord always!

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