REFLECTION FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT (YEAR A) Week beginning 11TH DECEMBER 2022
This Sunday is known as GAUDETE Sunday. ‘Gaudete’ means ‘REJOICE!’
It is the 3rd of Advent’s 4 Sundays. (It can be seen as akin to Laetare Sunday during Lent since ‘Laetare’ also means ‘Rejoice’ – and Laetare Sunday usually falls on Mothers’ Day).
Gaudete Sunday represents the midpoint of this Holy Advent Season. It points us forward to 17th December, when begins the 2nd phase of the Season i.e. the part lasting for 8 days.
These 2 distinct phases of the Advent Season are illustrated by the distinction between, on the one hand, Advent carols and Christmas carols on the other hand.
Advent carols help to convey the great air of expectancy in the 1st phase of Advent – its first 20 days, with its directives “Watch!” – “Stay awake!” – and “prepare a way for the Lord”.
Each annual celebration of Christmas, and of its true meaning, can be understood as our “practice preparation” for welcoming the Lord Jesus at His 2nd Coming, in glory upon the clouds of Heaven. It is true, of course, that such a momentous event may not occur in our lifetime, but we surely have to engineer and maintain a state of real readiness.
The full world of advertising and materialism will present a more than real threat to our overall mindset in this very respect. During each December in particular, therefore, if we allow “shopping” etc. to gain the upper hand in our thinking, it may mean that it will do similarly throughout the year.
Advent and Christmas taken together, and affirmed in their entirety, can bring a true order into our daily lives. Neither is merely another annual memorial or celebration, in order to merely preserve a sense of historical continuity, so to speak, over 2,000 years.