Third Sunday of Advent


Today's Mass Readings


Our brief season of waiting, of expectation, looking forward is now half over. Today is Gaudete Sunday: REJOICE! Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near. (Phil 4: 4-5). Everything in today’s liturgy is about finding joy in the coming of the Lord. The entrance antiphon, coming from Philippians, also the second reading, rejoice: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”

In the opening collect, we ask that God enable us “to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.”

A clear theme during Advent is the joy that comes when Jesus Christ comes to us when Jesus is present to us, and within us. Receiving Christ with joy. Last Sunday we prayed that God remove from us all those things which hinder us from receiving Christ with joy. Longing for the Lord to come and desiring to receive him with joyful hearts, we ask that God cast aside anything that keeps us from receiving Him with joy.

If we speak of removing things that get in our way, we might consider if we are, at times, our own biggest obstacles because of the sin which is still part of us. So, one remedy for that dilemma is to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the days of Advent.

With these calls for rejoicing and joy, the truth is that for many in the world there are so very many obstacles to finding true joy, few reasons to rejoice. The world is still struggling with the pandemic. There are still shootings in our schools. There are people in need, and there is strife in the world. In the Gospel today, the people ask John the Baptist: “What should we do?” A good question in any time or season. And what does John tell them? He instructed them on sharing with the one who is in need. To some, he said they ought not make excessive demands on others, and be honest, sincere with everyone. In other words, take care of those we can – doing small things with great love, as St. Teresa of Calcutta would say.

The people asked John, “what do we do?” The answer in the letter to the Philippians urges us not to have anxiety, but to make our needs known to God.

Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Then Paul continues (in the verses following today’s reading), “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Everyone desires to be at peace and to achieve a certain contentment in mind, heart, and soul.

Welcoming Jesus is the task of Advent. The Lord comes to save the nations. To bring peace to the world. To lift up. To heal. To forgive. To pardon. All of this and more.

Reflection by Fr. Peter Ullrich, OSB

Print Friendly, PDF & Email