THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
This weekend we hit the pause button in our Advent preparation as we celebrate the third Sunday of advent which is also known as Gaudete Sunday. We light the pink candle on the advent wreathes also the vestments change from the penitential purple to the rose of expectation. 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 often repeated Veni is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John: “Come, Lord Jesus,”. We live an age when things seem to be hopeless and many people seem to be lost for great number of reasons but this weekend we look forward to the hope that the birth of the Christ child will bring into our lives and the lives of those around us. In the light of the gospel message of advent where do we stand in regard to our own faith and hope in Jesus?
Perhaps right now our faith is under some strain. Life in our community of faith may not have been as rewarding and helpful as we had hoped. Perhaps some of our fellow Christians have let us down, or some of our leaders have done likewise. Maybe our prayers seem to have gone unanswered. So many things happen that are the opposite of what our faith really means and often at this time of year we find so many people who are not able to rejoice because of the pressure that Christmas brings. The first reading in the liturgy for this day from the Book of Isaiah tells us “Be strong! Fear not rejoice for the lord is near” but many are fearful at this time of year. If we stop and think for a moment all of us know someone who doesn’t like Christmas and there are many just reasons for this. As we rejoice today and during the non-stop activity of the forthcoming festivities we need to stop and spare a thought and a prayer for all those who are under pressure at this time of year.
There are people out there who are unable to provide for their families, who have little or nothing at all there are people who are homeless or refugees from other countries these are just a few examples of people who are under pressure there are so many others. We also remember all those organizations such as the Salvation Army and the St. Vincent DePaul who do so much good at this time of year. The customs of the advent season are announcements of one single message: Christ is born for us, so let us rejoice and be glad. To hear the good news, we gather together in our churches as we gather we rejoice in a god who sent his Son to be one of us in all our lives with the good who bad times that we all have. We are mindful of those who are fearful and under any kind of pressure personal or otherwise this Advent and we pray as Christmas approaches that we will be strong in faith and hope as we await the coming of the lord.