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December 7, 2011

Third Sunday of Advent: Joyful witnesses

Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent

Today the Advent readings place special emphasis on the joyous anticipation of the Lord's coming. It is "Gaudete Sunday" or "Rejoicing Sunday; the Church is rejoicing. The opening antiphon of today's Mass encourages us to, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice."
Isaiah encourages us to be open to and aware that it is the Spirit of the Lord that is upon us. For he has anointed us from the beginning of our Christian journey to be witnesses, to be a presence and a voice to the poor, the marginalized, the hospitalized, to the prisoners and to the broken-hearted.
God is the joy of our souls and we are to rejoice with overflowing joy at the tremendous wonders and favors he has bestowed on us. The responsorial psalm invites us today to make our own the beautiful words of our heavenly Mother, Mary: “My soul rejoices in my God.”
The second reading from Thessalonians urges us not to be timid, but to be joyful with each other and the world, and to be of constant prayer. We’re called to allow the spirit of Jesus to help us be thankful in all circumstances, giving the spirit enough space to work within us. There is much comfort knowing that the one who has called us is faithful, and that he will accomplish his will in us, even in the middle of all the messes we experience in life.
The Gospel today calls us to wait in anticipation, to prepare the way and to be of joyful hope for the one who is coming. What are we hopeful for, really? It’s not always clear in our minds and hearts. However, if we are living for Christ and in Christ, the one we are waiting for will make himself known. As Alfred Delp, SJ, wrote, “Advent is the time for rousing. We are shaken to the very depths, so that we may wake up to the truth of ourselves.” Let us endeavor to live our lives in anticipation for “the coming our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Thought for the week from Pope St. Leo the Great: “Many wealthy people are disposed to use their abundance not to swell their own pride but to perform works of benevolence. They consider their greatest gain what they spend to alleviate the distress of others. This virtue is open to all men, no matter what their class or condition, because all can be equal in their willingness to give, however unequal they be in earthly fortune.” 

Ashford St. Romain, C.Ss.R., professed his first vows as a Redemptorist in August 2011. He is a fourth-year philosophy student at St. John's University in New York, NY, and is a member of the Redemptorist formation community at Immaculate Conception Church in the Bronx, NY.

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Who are the Redemptorists?

Two thousand years ago Jesus said, “He sent me to preach the Good News to the poor.” Since 1732 the Redemptorists have followed in His footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned. Our congregation of missionary priests and brothers was founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori. Like the first Apostles, our mission—and our joy—is bringing the message of salvation to all people. As Redemptorists, we have a special devotion to crib, cross, Mary, and the Eucharist. To learn more, explore our website and connect with us on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.


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