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Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday – 3rd Sunday of Advent

December 12, 2021

Please wear Rose or Pink to mass today.

Gaudete Sunday

The Sunday Propers: Gaudete Sunday
Sweet, Beautiful, Soul-Saving Joy – A Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
On the Sunday of Joy [Angelus]
Catholic Word of the Day: GAUDETE SUNDAY, 11-27-12

John the Baptist Teaches Us To Rejoice in Hope-3rd Sunday in Advent–Gaudete Sunday
Gaudete Sunday! Rejoice because the Lord is near!
Third Sunday of Advent: Gaudete Sunday, December 13
Why “Gaudete?”
Catholic Liturgy Rose-Colored Vestments on Gaudete Sunday
Pink!?! [The Newbie encounters Gaudete, or Rose, Sunday]

Third Sunday of Advent


December 13, 2015 (Readings on USCCB website)


O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Recipes (9)


Activities (2)


Prayers (4)


Library (5)

Old Calendar: Third Sunday of Advent; Gaudete Sunday

“Rejoice: the Lord is nigh.” As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing nigh when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom. The oft-repeated Veni (“Come”) of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John: “Come, Lord Jesus,” the last words of the New Testament.

Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, “Rejoice”. Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath.

Today is the feast of St. Lucy which is superseded by the Sunday Liturgy.

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Jesse Tree ~ Jonah

Christ Even Now on the Way to Bethlehem
Evidently, in the mind of holy Church, neither the prophecy concerning Bethlehem Ephrata nor its fulfillment in the day of Caesar Augustus is to be considered merely a glorious divine disposition and achievement. No, the prophecy of Micheus is still being verified every day, but predominantly during the annual Advent season; for the selfsame incarnate eternal Son of God who journeyed to Bethlehem to be born there physically, now to the end of time comes to human souls as to spiritual Bethlehems, there to be born anew, again and again.

But be sure to picture these merciful spiritual journeyings of Christ to the Bethlehem of souls as all too often sadly realistic spiritual repetitions of His first long journey over the rugged road from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Meditate long on the wanton and malicious opposition He encounters on His way to them from souls that leave their senses and heart and mind to be ruled by earthly vanities, and their whole selves to be willing victims of the sensual and selfish illusions and witcheries of the seven capital vices.

Can you still fail to see why Isaias and the Baptist compare the hardships of the way of the world’s Messiah-King to souls with a rough, crooked, and almost impassable road up steep hills and down precipitous valleys and through dangerous mountain passes? Do you wonder that these prophets of His coming insist so strongly that merely sentimental longings and routine prayers, however multiplied, cannot prepare us worthily for the entrance He must expect and the welcome He craves?

Pray very honestly, therefore, that you may begin to see the practical reasons for the Church’s crying out in the desert world, and even into your own interior soul and heart:

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord: Make straight in the wilderness His paths; Every valley shall be exalted; Every mountain and hill shall be made low; And the crooked shall be made straight; And the rough ways plain” (Is. 40:3, 4). Then shall you see the salvation of God!

Excerpted from Our Way to the Father by Rev. Leo M. Krenz, S.J.

The Word Among Us

Meditation: Luke 3:10-18

3rd Sunday of Advent

I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. (Luke 3:16)

If you’ve ever spent a lot of time in a mostly flat area, the sensation of driving up a steep hill and suddenly not being able to see the road ahead of you can be frightening—at least until you realize that there is more road after the hill crests! After a while, you get used to that feeling, but the sense of nervousness or excitement at the top never quite goes away.

This sensation can help us look at today’s Gospel reading. When John the Baptist gave the people a road map for how they should act, it must have felt like a dead end to some of them. They wanted to follow his preaching, but they knew it would be hard to change their behaviors—and in some instances, their jobs—in order to live out the justice he had proclaimed.

It must have also felt like a dead end when John told the crowd that he wasn’t the Messiah. You can imagine some wondering if they had been following the wrong person all along!

But John helped them see the magnificence of the road ahead by telling them that the Messiah was indeed coming—and that John, as great a prophet as he was, wasn’t even fit to loosen the thong of his sandals.

Sometimes the road ahead looks a lot like a dead end. Other times we may feel too exhausted to make it over the next hill. But at each juncture, the Lord is there to tell us that a pleasant downhill lies ahead. And not only that, but he reminds us that Jesus is the “one mightier” than John the Baptist (Luke 3:16). He doesn’t just cheer us on; he empowers us with his Spirit. He who is in you is strong and mighty. Ask him to give you heavenly strength.

“Lord, strengthen me when the road gets hilly. Help me to stay on the path, look past the dead ends, and see the glorious road ahead.”

Zephaniah 3:14-18
(Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-6
Philippians 4:4-7

Questions for Reflection or Discussion:

Mass Readings:
1st Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-18
Responsorial: (Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-6
2nd Reading: Philippians 4:4-7
Gospel: Luke 3: 10-18

1. As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy that should be in our hearts given all that the birth of our Savior means for us. In the first reading, Zephaniah tells us to “shout for joy”! What are some of the reasons he describes for doing this? Are there areas in your life that make you want to “shout for joy”? What are they?

2. The Responsorial Psalm begins with these uplifting words: “God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.” In what specific ways is this true in your life? How do you allow the confidence, strength, and courage you find in Christ to be an example to others? What are some specific steps can you can take during this grace-filled Advent season to do even better?

3. St. Paul in the second reading calls us to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” During Advent, we should rejoice not only in the coming of our Lord as a baby at Bethlehem, but his coming into our hearts as well. The assurance of the fullness of salvation in Christ’s second coming should also cause us to rejoice. How well are you able to “Rejoice in the Lord” when faced with the difficulties of the current world situation? If you find it difficult to do so, what steps can you take to interject a new expectancy and trust in the Lord regarding your attitude about the world situation?

4. St. Paul goes on to tell us in the second reading that we are to “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” Why is this praying with expectant faith a path to experiencing in our hearts the “God of peace”?

5. In the Gospel, John the Baptist reminds us of our responsibility to share with others in need. He also “preached good news to the people.” How can you use your time, your talent, and your treasure to help the needy during Advent, as well as share the “good news” of Christmas?

6. In the meditation, we are reminded that “Jesus is the ‘one mightier’ than John the Baptist (Luke 3:16). He doesn’t just cheer us on; he empowers us with his Spirit. He who is in you is strong and mighty. Ask him to give you heavenly strength.” How well are you at bringing your struggles, both big and small, to the Lord in prayer? What happens when you do?

7. Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the strength to “to stay on the path” he has set before you—especially during this grace-filled Advent and Christmas Season. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

God Sings, So We Should Too

December 13, 2015
Third Sunday of Advent
First Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-18a

We can fail to hope. In fact, our inner cynic is always warning us against the danger of hope. It tells us that we’ve hoped before only to see our expectations crushed. We’ve looked forward to better days, only to regress. For the jaded, hope is foolish, a silly way of thinking for naive people who don’t have enough life experience to know that hopes don’t get fulfilled, the world doesn’t change, things won’t get better. To expect otherwise is just to set yourself up for disappointment. It’s better to expect the worst and maybe, one day, you’ll be wrong, but most of the time you’ll have the satisfaction of being right. However, this sneering perspective is the one that is truly short-sighted, the one that has only reached a certain level of understanding about the universe. Zephaniah the prophet jolts us out of such worldly pessimism and points to the powerful Joy that trumps the sadness of this world.

Concentric Joy

This Sunday’s first reading from Zephaniah 3:14-18a presents its message in concentric circles, a pattern of parallels that scholars refer to as a chiasm. The themes of a chiasm wrap around a central core — the most important part, the message. Here the concentric themes are from outside-in: singing, gladness, saving, being “with you,” and “do not fear.” Zephaniah diagnoses the people’s main problem as their fear. His message is meant to be the antidote. Zephaniah prophesied just before 600 B.C. during the reign of Josiah. The people of Judah were in the midst of a positive religious reform, but would soon be exiled (in 586). Most of Zephaniah’s prophetic word is about the judgment coming on the Day of the Lord, but here at the end of his book, he offers a consoling message of restoration for God’s people. It starts with song.


Zephaniah’s first sally against the pessimism of the jaded is a call to sing: “Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel!” (Zeph 3:14 RSV). He calls the people of God to recognize the end-game, to look past the pain of judgment and exile, to look past the troubles this life brings. Ultimately, God’s plan is not about sorrow, devastation and judgment, but about joy. Singing is the quintessential expression of joy (along with dancing), which is why we do it at birthday parties, weddings, parties and the like. The kind of singing we’re talking about here is not doleful or somber, but exuberant, loud, boisterous, happy singing. God’s people are meant to recall that his awesome plan is for their happiness. That’s why we sing at Christmas.

We also learn that it is not just us, but God himself sings! “He will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zep 3:17 RSV). This is the only place in the Bible, where God is depicted as singing and it is us, his people, over whom he is singing loudly and joyfully. When we sing his praises joyfully, we mirror his happy singing to us. Like two lovers singing songs to each other, we find ourselves in a relationship of joyful singing with our God.


Along with this singing of course, is a generous helping of gladness. Jerusalem is invited to be glad and rejoice “with all your heart (3:14). Again, her attitude has been bad, limited, cynical, and the prophet invites the people to mirror God’s attitude over them, gladness. “He will rejoice over you with gladness” (3:17). The Lord is not sad, disappointed, angry, capricious, but happy, singing, joyful. In fact, his love for his people is so extensive that it fills him with gladness. When we rejoice heartily in God’s salvation, when we truly embrace the joy he offers us, it sinks deep into our hearts and overflows with song.


This over-abundance of joy and singing might seem puerile, but it is founded on God’s power to deliver his people. It is the rejoicing that comes from his saving. “He has cast out your enemies” (3:14). The enemies of the ancient Jews might have been the Babylonians, but ours are sin and death. By the power of his Cross, the Lord casts them out and we find ourselves saved, delivered, redeemed. He truly is “a warrior who gives victory” (3:17). Jesus has fought the fight for us. He has won our salvation, so we have cause for great rejoicing.

“With You”

Near the heart of our concentric structure, we find God’s presence. The prophet says, “The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst” (3:15). A moment later, he reaffirms this point, “The Lord your God is in your midst” (3:17). God’s presence means continued protection from our enemies. It means a relationship of joyful love with him. His being “in our midst” means that we are not alone, we are not living in the same sorrowful, cynical world that many people see, but a far greater one—one where hope can actually be fulfilled. This passage about God being “in our midst” or “with us” is perfect for Advent, when we reflect on Immanuel, “God with us” — the Isaian prophecy cited at the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel right after St. Joseph’s encounter with the angel. Also, it dovetails with the Annunciation scene, where the angel tells Mary, “the Lord is with you.” God’s presence with us is no small thing. It shows us that God is on our side and we are on his. In fact, he promises “I am with you always” (Matt 28:20). His presence changes everything.

Do Not Fear

Lastly, at the center of our concentric text, just like the angel who appeared to Joseph and Mary, Zephaniah offers his take-home message: Do not be afraid. Fear poisons joy. Fear of the future is the opposite of hope. Jesus warns us strongly against it, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life” (Matt 6:25). Anxiety, worry, and fear lead us in the wrong direction. They trick us into thinking that all there is is the here-and-now, that we have nothing to hope for, that all our expectations will be crushed. They rob us of the hope and joy that is rightfully ours. They deceive us as to the nature of the world we live in. They vitiate our faith of its meaning. Zephaniah builds his case against fear from God’s perspective and his actions: God is with us. God has saved us. God rejoices over us. God even sings to us. If that isn’t cause for joy, I don’t know what is. I think hope is worth the risk. So, as the Church commands us on this pink-colored Sunday of Advent: Gaudete! Rejoice!

Scripture Speaks: Gaudete Sunday

“Rose” Sunday in Advent calls us to rejoice, even in a penitential season. Will our readings show us how?

Gospel (Read Lk 3:10-18)

Traditionally, Catholics observe the third Sunday ofAdvent as “rose” Sunday, or “Gaudete” Sunday, which is Latin for “rejoice.” This is a beautiful reminder that although our preparation for the coming of the Lord has directed our attention inward, calling us to be ready to face our sin in an active way, the reason for this self-examination is one that should bring us boundless joy. Our Gospel reading helps us begin to see this.

St. Luke tells us that John the Baptist’s preaching aroused a response in the crowds who came to hear him. They understood he was calling them to a decision about how they lived their lives with God: “What should we do?” This is the same exact question that the crowds who heard St. Peter first preach the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost asked, too (see Acts 2:37). John had a ready answer for them, and it is not, perhaps, the answer they might have expected. He did not tell them to pray more, give more alms, or spend more time at the Temple. No, his reply was not pious that way. Those who wanted to be ready for the Messiah’s appearance were to look around them for people who were in need and do something about it. Anyone with food or clothing to spare should be willing to share with his needy neighbor. In other words, sacrificial love of neighbor was a good way to prepare to see God.

Tax collectors, who were often considered to be reprobates by respectable Jews, wanted to know what they should do: “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” They had been lining their pockets by skimming the top off the excessive taxes they collected. Soldiers were also in the crowd, and they asked John for specific direction about preparing for the Messiah’s appearance. The answer came back: be honest, be fair, be content with their wages. Behind all these exhortations is a challenge: be willing to let go of what matters most to you (often possessions or money) for the sake of love, truth, and justice. John the Baptist called the Jews to a radical re-commitment to their covenant with God. The Law of Moses provided a way of life that was ordered to man’s happiness. It directed men and women to live in harmony with the way God designed them. It made freedom from self-love, the deadly poison of sin that always robs us of our true joy, possible.

See that when the people heard what John had to say, they were “filled with expectation.” This kind of talk, recalling them to what they knew was a truly good way to live, stirred them to wonder if perhaps John was the Messiah. John immediately ended that speculation: “I am baptizing you with water, but One mightier than I is coming.” The mission of the Messiah would also be to call God’s people to a renewal of covenant love for God and man, but His baptism would be “with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The Messiah would challenge men and women to seek a new life with God, then He would give His life to enable them to live that life. His appearance would be a time of life-and-death decision, a time for the “fall and rising of many in Israel” (see Lk 2:34).

We might think John’s preparatory work was somber and somewhat downbeat, because of its emphasis on self-denial; a penitential liturgical season like Advent can seem that way, too. Look, however, at how St. Luke describes John’s preaching: “Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people.” Goodnews! When the call to clarity in life comes to us, rousing us from the stupor sin can cause, in which our destiny as children made in God’s image and likeness becomes blurred, we should really have only one reaction: Rejoice!

Possible response: Lord Jesus, help me practice the self-denial that leads to joy this Advent.

First Reading (Read Zep 3:14-18a)

In our Gospel, John the Baptist prepares for the imminent appearance of the Messiah by preaching a call to repentance. In this reading, the prophet, Zephaniah, centuries before the birth of Christ, calls God’s people to prepare for “the King of Israel, the LORD” in a different way: “Shout for joy . . . sing joyfully . . . be glad and exult with all your heart.” Why can God’s people be so jubilant? Because “The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior.” Zephaniah prophesies the coming of the Messiah Who is also the Savior: “The LORD has removed the judgment against you; He has turned away your enemies.”

John the Baptist helped the Jews understand that their “enemies” weren’t the Romans who occupied their land. What robbed them of their glory as God’s people was their sin. Jesus was coming to deal a definitive deathblow to this enemy. In His Second Coming, He will defeat death itself as He ushers in the life of the world to come (see 1 Cor 15:26; Isa 25:8; Hos 13:14). Not only should God’s people rejoice over this, but Zephaniah says God Himself “will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in His love; He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.” Let us pause to ponder this astonishing promise of Jesus singing joyfully over us. We have a foretaste of this every time we hear a priest chanting the liturgy at Mass. Christ, in the person of the priest, sings with joy in our midst. Even in a penitential season, how can we resist rejoicing over this?

Possible response: Lord Jesus, it is our joy to give You joy, to give You a reason to sing.

Psalm (Read Isa 12:2-6)

The psalm reading is actually from the prophet, Isaiah. The Church gives it to us today to provide an appropriate expression for our great joy over the anticipation of Jesus’ presence in our midst — begun at His first coming, continued now in veiled ways, and universally established in His Second Coming. Even though we are now in Advent, doing the serious work of preparation and being ready for Jesus, the Church breaks into this intense time with a burst of jubilation. We simply cannot suppress the joy of what God has done, is doing, and will do for us: “Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.”

Possible response: The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings. Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.

Second Reading (Read Phil 4:4-7)

St. Paul knows that the fundamental response to the Christian life is joy: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” Why can we, at all times and everywhere, be so full of joy? St. Paul explains: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” No anxiety at all? Not even over our sin in this penitential season? No, not even now. Whatever troubles us, whether in ourselves or in our circumstances, can be turned into prayer with the sure confidence that God loves and hears us. We are not alone: “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

If we take this promise to heart and practice it diligently, it will drive away sadness, despair, and fear: “The Lord is near.” Amen.

Possible response: Heavenly Father, help me remember to turn my anxiety today into a prayer, with thanksgiving. I need Your peace.


December 12, 2021
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