Sunday of the third week of Advent
Lighting the Way for Joy
The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday and is all about joy. More concretely, the joy that is dependent on Jesus, given through the Holy Spirit and everlasting through the Word of God. While this week’s Gospel is about John the Baptist telling the crowds that he is not the Christ who is coming will likely be instantly recognized by most of the faithful, I believe the second reading is a more complete representation of Advent joy.
“Brothers and sisters; Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
As we continue to prepare ourselves this Advent season, are we not finding our hearts beginning to fill with joy over Jesus’ impending arrival? As Christians, we know that the salvation we find in Christ is the purest source of joy. During his Angelus address on December 13th, 2020, Pope Francis said, “The Christian is joyful in heart, even in trials; he is joyful because he is close to Jesus: It is he who gives us joy.”.
But let’s not fool ourselves – finding or remaining joyful can be challenging. Eighteen months of living with the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly tested my ability to live joyfully at times. What, then, should we do when the anxieties of life cast a shadow over us or those we care for? The answer, friends, is clearly stated in our second reading. Our joy will be restored through thankful prayer and petition to God.
O God, who see how your people
faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity,
enable us, we pray,
to attain the joys of so great a salvation,
and to celebrate them always
with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mystical Rose,
make intercession for the Holy Church,
protect the Sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke thee in their necessities,
and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary,
and Mother of the True God,
obtain for us from thy most holy Son the grace of keeping our faith,
of sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life,
of burning charity and the precious gift of final perseverance.
SOURCE: Creighton University Online Ministries
Light the third candle (pink) of the wreath after saying the special prayer below.
Prayers for Lighting the Advent Wreath Candles
Lord God, may we, your people, who look forward to the birthday of Christ, experience the joy of salvation and celebrate that feast with love and thanksgiving. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.