Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)
On this Sunday, the Catholic Liturgy offers the faithful a joyful pause from the penitential note of Advent. Vestments are rose-coloured, the Gloria is sung, and flowers decorate the altar. Gaudete, the first word of the entrance antiphon of the Mass, means “Rejoice”. It is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Regjoice” (Phil 4:4).
St. Spyridon (†c. 348). Bishop of Trimythous, present-day Tremetousia, in Cyprus. True pastor of the flock, his admirable deeds and example were proclaimed far and wide.
St. Israel de Dorat, priest (†1014). A highly cultured man, he was appointed Vicar General for the Bishop of Limoges, France, whom he helped extensively in the preaching of the Gospel.
St. Finian, abbot (†549). Founded several monasteries in Ireland, including Clonard Monastery, of which he was abbot and where he died.
St. Simon Phan Dac Hoa, martyr (†1840). Pagan orphan adopted by a Christian family in Vietnam. He became a renowned doctor, father of a large family and, above all, a fervent Christian. Imprisoned for having lodged missionaries, he was brutally tortured and finally beheaded.
Blessed James Capocci, bishop (†1308). Augustinian religious appointed Archbishop of Benevento and afterwards of Naples, Italy; Outstanding for his wisdom, prudence and theological knowledge.
Blessed Pius Bartosik, priest and martyr (†1941). Franciscan priest who died in Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland, after enduring tortures.
Blessed Bartolo Buonpedoni, priest (†1300). Afflicted with leprosy at 60 years of age, he withdrew to a segregation colony in Cellole, Italy, where he ministered to the sick confined there.
Blessed Conrad of Offida, priest (†1306). Franciscan religious who loved and practised to a high degree the humility and original poverty of the Order.
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, normally celebrated on December 12, is omitted this year since it falls on a Sunday of Advent.
First Reading – Zep 3:14-18a
Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you
he has turned away your enemies;
the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
he will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.
Responsorial Psalm – Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6 (R.6)
R. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation. R.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name. R.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel! R.
Second Reading – Phil 4:4-7
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.
Gospel – Lk 3:10-18
The crowds asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?”
He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none.
And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
“Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them,
“Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him,
“And what is it that we should do?”
He told them,
“Do not practice extortion,
do not falsely accuse anyone,
and be satisfied with your wages.”
Now the people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Exhorting them in many other ways,
he preached good news to the people.