Sunday, December 13, 2009

Third Sunday of Advent

Dear All,

The Third Sunday of Advent is called Sunday of Joy (Gaudete in Latin). This is a reminder during the preparation season of Advent that there is ample reason for joy, even in the midst of spiritual repentance that John the Baptist calls us to. The Sunday takes its name from the Second Reading, where we continue from last week, to read from the letter that Paul writes out of prison to the Philippians (and to us) about the nearness of the Lord. Appropriate at this time, be it because of two week’s before Christmas or either of the other two encounters with Christ we spoke about last week: at the end of times or in each other in our daily lives. A very practical recommendation on how to deal will all the ‘stuff’ and stress that fills our days in this paragraph from Paul: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God”. There is reason for joy, isn’t there? For those of us blessed with faith, we can believe that statement wholeheartedly… and when the ruts are about to take over, be reminded of it, and lift up our fears to God, “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving” and relax (=”have no anxiety”). As an additional aide memoire we light the rose candle on the Advent wreath on this Sunday.

The First Reading is from the Prophet Zephaniah, one of the twelve Minor Prophets from the Old Testament, most likely compiled to its present form in the Hebrew Bible around 200 BCE, but referring to a cotemporary of Jeremiah around 640-609

BCE and the Babylonian Captivity. The short book is a catastrophe prophecy affecting Judah and all the nations condemned for corruption springing from pride. Salvation to a humble remnant is promised and today’s passage describes at length the joy Zion, Israel and Jerusalem will have when the Lord has removed the judgment against them and turned away their enemies.

In Luke’s Gospel we encounter a humble, but very pragmatic John the Baptist. He acknowledges and points to the “one mightier than I” coming after him to baptize with the Holy Spirit. Has some very practical advice for his enquiring followers, share excess cloak and food; to tax collectors to stop collecting more than is prescribed and to soldiers not to practice extortion and refrain from false accusations. As we get ourselves ready for the coming of Christ, let us reflect on these practical suggestions and consider which ones need fine-tuning in our own ‘portfolio’.

The complete text of today’s Readings can be found at

With God’s Love and Blessings,


For a Print version (pdf file) go to

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