Sunday, December 14, 2008

Third Sunday of Advent--Gaudete Sunday

Third Sunday and Week of Advent
Light the 1st purple candle
(repeat first week's prayer: Stir up thy power, O Lord, and come, that by thy protection we may be rescued from the dangers that beset us through our sins; and be a Redeemer to deliver us; who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.)

Light the 2nd purple candle
(repeat 2nd week's prayer: Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the paths of thine Only-begotten Son: that we may worthily serve thee with hearts purified by His coming: Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Light the rose candle

We beseech thee to listen to our prayers, O Lord,
and by the grace of thy coming enlighten our darkened minds:
Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Alternate/Complementary Prayer:
O Key of David, Jesus Christ,
the gates of heaven open at your command,
come and show us the way to salvation.
(From Christmas Prayers, Victor Hoagland, C.P.)

Sunday's Scriptures:
Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11
Lk 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
1 Thess 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

Third Sunday of Advent

This week we light the rose candle in the Advent wreath, signifying joy. Too often we think joy means getting what we want. But consider the joyful mysteries of the rosary events filled with surprise and often trepidation. Mary didn't ask to become pregnant before marriage, Elizabeth had despaired of conceiving in her old age, and it took a visit from an angel to convince Joseph that things would be OK. Their joy and ours too comes not in getting what we want, but in accepting God's will, even when we don't understand it.

Late Advent readings are by date, beginning December 17.

(Nm 24:2-7, 15-17a; Mt 21:23-27)

Give more. This is the season of giving, from presents for our loved ones to coins we throw in the bell-ringer's kettle. But too often, we give from our excess the change that would have ended up in our pocket, or our Christmas bonus. Remember that Jesus gave, not from his excess, but from his entire being. Then give away something you love.

(Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13; Mt 21:28-32)

Contemplate joy. Spend some time today with these thoughts from Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta: "Joy is prayer Joy is strength Joy is love Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls." And, "Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Christ risen."

**December 17th
(Gen 49:2, 8-10; Matthew 1.1-17)

Learn your history. The litany of names in Jesus' ancestry often falls on deaf ears. So many strange names how can we make sense of them all! But examined closely, they are a fascinating tapestry of powerful kings, complicated courtships and other elements of great drama. Ask a relative about your family's own dramatic stories today.

December 18
(Jer 23:5-8; Mt 1:18-24)

Stand up for your convictions. Following Jesus sometimes means ignoring what other people say. No one knew this better than Joseph. Imagine what people said when they learned Mary was pregnant. It might have been easier to go along with his plan to abandon her quietly, but he trusted God and ignored everyone else.

December 19
(Jgs 13:2-7, 24-25; Lk 1:5-25)

Forgive your doubts. Isn't it refreshing to hear Zechariah doubt God? An angel arrives with news of a longed-for son, and he answers, in essence, "Prove it." In dark moments we all have doubted whether God's promises are real. The good news for Zechariah, and for us, is that they are real, and God keeps them even if we doubt.

December 20
(Is 7:10-14; Lk 1:26-38)

Say yes. In our over-committed, over-scheduled world, the last thing many of us want to do is accept another responsibility. Yet couldn't Mary have made the same case? "I'd love to help, God, but this will disrupt my wedding plans, and I don't really have time right now." Is there anything God is asking you to do that you should accept?

**Changed around to coincide with the correct days.

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