From the Rector: Third Sunday of Advent

Third Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete Sunday.”

In the readings, we hear about miracles associated with the Messianic age, its coming, and what we need to do to prepare. We also learn about the doubts of John the Baptist, how he dealt with them, and the blessing that makes us even more fortunate than John was.

Here are some things to know and share . . .

1) Why is the third Sunday of Advent known as Gaudete Sunday?

Its name is taken from the entrance antiphon of the Mass, which is:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.

Indeed, the Lord is near.

This is a quotation from Philippians 4:4-5, and in Latin, the first word of the antiphon is gaudete (Latin, “rejoice”; it’s also pronounced with three syllables: gau-de-te)

2) What significance does this have?
Advent is the season of preparing for the arrival of the Lord Jesus (both his first coming and his second coming), and by the third Sunday of Advent, we are most of the way through the season.
On Gaudete Sunday, the season of Advent shifts its focus. For the first two weeks of Advent, the focus can be summed up in the phrase, “The Lord is coming.” But beginning with Gaudete Sunday, the summary might be, “The Lord is near.” This shift is marked by a lighter mood, and a heightened sense of joyous anticipation.

3) What is the appropriate liturgical color for this day?
According to the rubrics:
In this mass the color violet or rose is used.
It can thus be either one. It doesn’t have to be rose; it can also be violet.

4) How many candles are lit on the wreath?
Three candles are lit this week, two purple and the one rose candle to signify the 3rd Sunday of Advent.

5) Is this the same as Laetare Sunday?
Gaudete Sunday is often compared to  Laetare Sunday which  is the fourth Sunday in Lent. Like Gaudete Sunday, Laetare Sunday has a more light-hearted, celebratory mood relative to Lent’s usually strict mood.


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