3rd Sunday of Advent Year C

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Dear Parishioners,

“Rejoice the Lord is nigh.”  As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Saviour means for us.  The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing nigh when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom.  The oft-repeated Veni (“Come”) of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets, but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John:  “Come, Lord Jesus,” the last words of the New Testament.

Today is known as Gaudete Sunday.  The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, “Rejoice”.  Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that our Saviour draws near,  and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath.  We must realize that we are the voice that announces our Saviour to the world in joy.  We must find our voice.  Our voice comes in thankfulness.  Our joy comes because of the blessings we have received in abundance – our family, our friends, our health and our faith. 

Today’s readings are filled with hope.  In the first reading from Isaiah 61, we are reminded of the vision of the kingdom of God that is the reason for our hope.  Although we may recognize the words of the “Magnificat” in the responsorial as Mary’s words, they also echo the Hebrew thanksgiving hymn of Hannah, the mother of Samuel who gave birth even after she was thought sterile (see 1 Samuel 2). In the gospel, John the Baptist places his hope in the one who is coming, the son of Light.  He is a voice announcing a greater one yet to come.  Can’t we, too, be a voice – a voice that announces the presence of a greater one in our lives?