Third Sunday of Advent: JOY
The Third Week of Advent symbolizes Joy with the Shephard’s Candle, reminding us of the Joy the world experiences at the coming birth of Jesus
We humbly beg you, O Lord, to listen to our prayers;
and by the grace of your coming bring light into our darkened minds.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Advent Reflection From Father Mark
A Time to Rejoice!
Gaudete! Rejoice! Today, on the third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, Latin for “Rejoice” (who knew my Latin classes would pay off so well!). It is an earnest call from the Church to truly rejoice. Rejoice that the time is near when God will become incarnate and our salvation will begin to unfold! May we follow that call with sincerity. As we continue on our Advent journey, we are drawn into the wonderful story of God’s great and magnanimous love for all of us. We begin to realize that the nativity story, as well as the rest of scripture, is not simply a nice bedtime story from thousands of years ago which we share with one another. Instead, we see how it is truly our story as well, how we are sharers and participants in the same beautiful narrative. The story of Christ is our story, as his disciples, and we have inherited the same graces and joys bestowed upon countless generations before us. For that, we rejoice. In our reading from Isaiah for Mass this weekend, we read that beautiful lived moment of the prophet: “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.”
I do pray that our souls may be filled with joy; that we may share that joy with one another; and that we always seek to rejoice heartily in our loving God. To love God, to let him be the center of our lives, and to realize the ways in which he blesses us is to live a joy-filled life. Read through our scripture passages once more, study the lives of saints, look at those around you who are faith-filled and devoted Catholics. One common factor you may see through all of them, and throughout the history of the Church, is joy, happiness, and mirth. To love God is to love goodness itself. If our lives as disciples leads us back to merciful gaze of God, how can we not rejoice?
Over the last few weeks, I have spent a bit of time reflecting over the past year (as I tend to do every Advent). One of the things I have tried to do with a little more intentionality this year that in years past was to find those moments of joy and blessedness. There were definitely some areas where I had to look pretty hard, but in my reflections, I was able to see the wonders of our God. I led the people of my last parish with faith, hope, and love, through the extremely challenging shut down and provided needed comfort and compassion. I have close priest friends from across the country whom I have seen more (on zoom) this year than in the last several years combined. I have started helping out and serving the people of Our Lady of the Wayside and begun to build new relationships. With Masses being streamed online, friends and family throughout the nation have been able to pray and celebrate with me more than ever. I have grown to appreciate certain relationships and simple elements of my life on a much deeper level.
Are you able to find blessings in your life from this past year? It can be so easy to just dismiss 2020 and say we are over it and ready to move on. Yet even in the midst of challenges and extremely stressful and trying times, we are called to search out the Lord. When we find him, will we rejoice? May these last few weeks of Advent bring about joy to your families and homes. May the approaching birth of Christ strengthen you and give you peace. May this season or preparation for the goodness that is to come, lead all of us to a life of rejoicing!
May God bless you all,
Fr. Mark Augustine
Week 3 of Advent: Joy
By Elizabeth Anthony – Alliance for Catholic Education
Think back to the times in your life when you have experienced joy. There are probably lots of memories flooding your minds right now – weddings, births, graduations, celebrations. When I thought about when I have felt the most joy, I realized that these moments shared three characteristics.
First, my most joyful moments occur in community. It’s rare to think of a moment of pure joy without remembering those with whom we shared the experience. As Catholics united in the Body of Christ, we know that we are created for community, to live and to serve together. Joy comes from authentic experiences shared with one another.
Second, joy is borne of struggle or a trying time that ultimately makes the end result infinitely sweeter. I think especially of Mary, the Mother of God, who suffered humiliation, fear, and exhaustion throughout her pregnancy but ultimately experienced pure joy when she gave birth to the Son of God.
Third, and finally, joy is not shallow, momentary, or fleeting. There is a difference between the happiness we feel when we watch our favorite TV shows or the contentment we feel when we crawl into bed at night and true, deep joy. Joy fills us up and radiates from our beings, touching those around us and filling our souls. It is a sentiment that sticks with us, guides our interactions, and cements itself in our memories. It is the feeling that inspires us to do good, to serve one another, and to love in all that we do.
In this advent season, we prepare to experience great joy at the birth of Jesus Christ. Let us appreciate the suffering that has led us to where we are today and those who surround us now to help us welcome our savior. Let us cherish the joy we feel at the beginning of the life of the Son of God and allow that joy to permeate all that we do.
Share YOUR Smiles, Photos, Videos!
Not to get ahead of ourselves as this is only the Third Week of Advent… but this is the week of JOY, right? So here’s a great way to create joy for yourself, your family, and to share it with our Wayside family…
Our Communications Team is working on creating joyous Christmas programming to unite us virtually — even as COVID-19 places strong restrictions on parish gatherings. We are gathering short Christmas carol and Christmas reflection videos, family Christmas cards (cover shots), family Christmas activity photos (i.e. decorating the tree, baking cookies, etc.) and fun Christmas themed photos (shots of Christmas mangers, trees, ornaments, ugly sweaters, etc.). We will assemble these into a format to share with our Wayside family — right before Christmas.
- Share Christmas joy with all.
- Be creative! Have some fun!
- Involve your children.
Can we count on you to spread JOY?
Word On Fire Daily Advent Gospel Reflections
For more information or to sign-up (free) for his daily reflections, click here.
Advent Resources for Prayer and Reflection
Advent is a quiet time of prayer and reflection as we prepare for the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Here are additional resources you might wish to review and use as you begin to focus on the joy of Christmas. If you find these resources helpful, please share with your family, friends or those you feel might benefit from the content.
Archdiocese of Chicago
Saint Mary’s of the Lake (Mundelein Seminary)
University of Notre Dame
Word on Fire
Strong Catholic Family Faith
Inspired & Refreshed
Christmas, the Devine Interruption (10-day plan)
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