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Third Sunday in Advent

Third Sunday of Advent

The Third Sunday of Advent is often referred to as Gaudete ("Rejoice") Sunday. The title comes from the beginning of the Latin introit for this Sunday, "Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete" ("Rejoice in the Lord; again I say, rejoice," Philippians 4:4, from the second reading for this Sunday).

With only one more Sunday before Christmas, the liturgy takes on a more eager and urgent sense of anticipation. The option of rose vestments and a rose candle for the third candle of the Advent wreath help heighten this emphasis. It is not surprising that the verbs 'sing' and 'rejoice' are heard over and over in the readings for this Sunday.

Right from the first reading, we hear this note of joy and eager hope from the prophet Zephaniah. Like his contemporary, Jeremiah, he had labored to end pagan worship in Jerusalem. Here he offers a lyric vision of Israel's future: "Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!"

John the Baptist's message to the Israelites seems stern, but Luke reminds us that he is "preaching the Gospel" (the "Good News"). The "Good News" of God and God's reign calls us to a commitment that is not only joyful, but also demands a new vision of how we live in that reign.

Reading 1 - Zephaniah 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 - Isaiah 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

R. (6) 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. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
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. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

Reading 2 - Philippians 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 - Luke 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.

Tags: 2012, advent, december-2012, religion
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