Sunday, 11 December 2022 : Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Rose (Gaudete Sunday) or Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday marks the Third Sunday in the season of Advent, which is also known as the Gaudete Sunday. This comes from the Introit or the opening Antiphon of this Sunday’s Mass, ‘Gaudete in Domino semper…’ or ‘Rejoice in the Lord always…’ which reminds us of the Aspect of Joy that we focus on in this Sunday’s celebration of the season of Advent. Thus far, from the first Sunday, we have focused on the Aspect of Hope and then Peace on the second Sunday, and now the Aspect of Joy before the last Aspect of Love next Sunday. Thus, this Sunday we focus our attention on the joy that we have in us in anticipating and expecting the coming of the truly joyous celebration and occasion in Christmas that is coming really soon now. We rejoice because of the great joy and happiness in the coming of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Correspondingly, we can see that there are unique features of this Sunday which are not seen for the rest of the Advent season, much like that of Laetare Sunday in the season of Lent, as this Sunday we take some kind of short break from the more sombre and penitential nature and mood of this Advent season. Today we look upon the joy that is coming up in Christmas season, in the joy that our Lord Jesus has brought into our midst with His coming into this world. This joy is something that we look forward to, and expect with jubilation in our hearts, and yet, at the same time, still with solemn and some penitential nature due to our current Advent season as a reminder that while we rejoice, we also must temper down our rejoicing and most importantly, remain focused on the true reason for our joy, and not be overcome and overwhelmed by excesses of merrymaking and festivities that we forget why we celebrate in the first place.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah of God speaking to His people reminding all of them not to be fearful or afraid anymore, and that God will give them rest and new strength, freedom from their hardships and troubles, and they will return once again to Zion, singing and rejoicing because God is with them and that their days of trials and struggles are over. Back then, the people of God living in the kingdom of Judah where the prophet Isaiah ministered and worked as God’s prophet had suffered a lot of indignation and other forms of hardships at the hands of their enemies, and they had faced a lot of trials and difficulties, and such words from the Lord certainly must have brought about relief and great joy to everyone who listened to those words of God’s consolation and reassurance.

Because of their sins, the people of God had been scattered and humiliated, and parts of the people had been crushed, conquered and exiled by their enemies, such as much of the ten of the twelve tribes of Israel living in the northern kingdom of Israel, which had succumbed to the Assyrians merely few decades prior to the coming of these words of the Lord through Isaiah. At a time of great trials and challenges for God’s people, therefore, this reassurance truly must have been like a great light piercing the darkness of despair, doubt and suffering among the people of God. At that time, God intervened on their behalf, crushing and defeating the massive army of the Assyrian king sent to Judah and Jerusalem to conquer them. God protected His people and led them all to triumph against their enemies, and the retreat of the Assyrians in shame must have been truly joyful for the people who were there, witnessing God’s providence and presence among them.

But that is not just what the Lord would do for His people, as it was just merely one of the many occasions in which God cared for His beloved ones, protecting and guiding them throughout their journey. He would send them all, and all of the children of mankind, just as He has promised, His own only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. By the incarnation of this Son of God, the Divine Word Incarnate, God has come among His people in the flesh, tangible and approachable, as the conquering and great Light that pierced through the darkness of this world, and which brought a new Hope into our midst, the Hope for the Resurrection and eternal life, of eternal bliss and true joy that we shall receive and enjoy forevermore in the Holy Presence of God.

That is what we heard in our second and Gospel reading passages today, as St. James detailed upon us all in his Epistle the reminder for all of us the faithful, that God is coming again in glory, at the time of His choosing, and we ought to look up to Him and be hopeful, as well as being patient, awaiting for His coming and return to our midst, while being reassured of His ever continued presence and love for us. In the meantime, we are all therefore expected to be righteous, holy and just, just as our Lord, loving God and Father is also righteous, all holy and just. Our Gospel passage today reminds us that the Lord Himself has come into this world, to fulfil all the promises that He has made to us, to redeem us, to heal us from our sickness, maladies, and most importantly, the bondage and shackles of sin and death that have kept us apart from Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, once again, as we focus our attention this Sunday on the more joyful aspect of our Advent observance, let us all first and foremost remind ourselves of why we celebrate and rejoice at all in this time of Advent and Christmas. We ought to keep in mind that the true joy of Christmas is not referring to all the celebrations, festivities, merrymaking and all the things that we commonly associated as the joyful celebration and nature of Christmas. Instead, it is the reason why Christmas exists in the first place that is the reason why we celebrate and rejoice, and that is, the coming of our great Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the One Whom God had sent into our midst, that through Him we may have redemption and liberation from our impending destruction because of our many sins, wickedness and evils.

Let us reflect on this and ask ourselves if our focus and emphasis during this preparatory time of Advent has been correct, or whether we have been swayed and distracted by the many temptations present all around us, of worldly excesses and attachments, the desires for pleasures, comforts and worldly satisfaction and joys. We do not have to go far but look all around us to see just how secular our Christmas celebrations have often become. In many places, Christmas has become no more than just another holiday and another celebration, where everyone cannot wait to show off and indulge in the most lavish and extravagant celebrations and merrymaking possible. People put so much emphasis on the festivities that they tend to forget what the festivities and celebrations are all for, that is Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, for His love and His act in our redemption, for Him for Whom Christmas is named after.

That is why, brothers and sisters, as Christians, we should lead by our own good examples by making sure that we do not give in to the temptation of worldly pleasures and excesses, and keep reminding ourselves of the true joy that we uphold and focus on in our Christmas celebrations, even as we now prepare for all the festivities and merrymaking. Christ should be at the centre of it all, and we should make sure that every part of our communities, our families and all with whom we partake the Christmas celebrations, we have to place Christ, the Joy of Christmas, right at the centre and as the focus of everything, or else, our Christmas celebrations will in fact become empty and meaningless. Christmas is not a celebration about ourselves and our ego or greed, but is instead a celebration of our joy at the love of God made Man, through Whom He has brought us the assurance of eternal joy and life.

Lastly, let us also not forget that there are some among our brethren who are not truly able to celebrate Christmas with joy, like those whose Christian faith had to be kept secret because of persecutions and all the hardships that even quite a number of our fellow Christians still face all around the world. And there are also those who do not have the means to celebrate because of their various hardships and challenges in life. There are those who cannot even make ends meet each day and less still the ability to celebrate. In whatever way we can do, let us help them either spiritually or in material, through our prayers and charity, and also by sharing the joy that we have, so that through us, our less fortunate brethren may also experience the Joy of Christ in Christmas.

May the Lord, our most loving God and Creator, Who has given us Jesus Christ, His Son, born on Christmas Day, as our Light and Hope, continue to strengthen us and guide us in our journey so that by our faith and dedication to Him, through a worthy celebration of Christmas and our preparation this Advent, we may draw ever closer to Him and to His saving grace. May God bless us all in our every good endeavours, our efforts, actions and works, and bless our Advent preparations and observances. May all of us have a truly blessed and fruitful Advent. Amen.

Sunday, 11 December 2022 : Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Rose (Gaudete Sunday) or Purple/Violet

Matthew 11 : 2-11

At that time, when John the Baptist heard in prison about the activities of Christ, he sent a message by his disciples, asking Him, “Are You the One Who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus answered them, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see : the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are brought back to life, and Good News is reaching the poor; and how fortunate is the one who does not take offence at Me!”

As the messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John : “When you went out to the desert, what did you expect to see? A reed swept by the wind? What did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? People who wear fine clothes live in palaces. What did you really go out to see? A prophet?”

“Yes, indeed, and even more than a prophet. He is the man of whom Scripture says : I send My messenger ahead of You to prepare the way before You. I tell you this : no one greater than John the Baptist has come forward from among the sons of women, and yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Sunday, 11 December 2022 : Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Rose (Gaudete Sunday) or Purple/Violet

James 5 : 7-10

Be patient then, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. See how the sower waits for the precious fruits of the earth, looking forward patiently to the autumn and spring rains. You also be patient and do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming is near.

Beloved, do not fight among yourselves and you will not be judged. See, the judge is already at the door. Take for yourselves, as an example of patience, the suffering of the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s Name.

Sunday, 11 December 2022 : Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Rose (Gaudete Sunday) or Purple/Violet

Psalm 145 : 7, 8-9a, 9bc-10

He gives justice to the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free.

The Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord straightens the bent. The Lord loves the virtuous, but He brings to ruin the way of the wicked. The Lord protects the stranger.

He sustains the widow and the orphan. The Lord will reign forever, your God, o Zion, from generation to generation. Alleluia!

Sunday, 11 December 2022 : Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Rose (Gaudete Sunday) or Purple/Violet

Isaiah 35 : 1-6a, 10

Let the wilderness and the arid land rejoice, the desert be glad and blossom. Covered with flowers, it sings and shouts with joy, adorned with the splendour of Lebanon, the magnificence of Carmel and Sharon. They, my people, see the glory of YHVH, the majesty of our God.

Give vigour to weary hands and strength to enfeebled knees. Say to those who are afraid : “Have courage, do not fear. See, your God comes, demanding justice. He is the God Who rewards, the God Who comes to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unsealed. Then will the lame leap as a hart and the tongue of the dumb sing and shout. For the ransomed of YHVH will return : with everlasting joy upon their heads, they will come to Zion singing, gladness and joy marching with them, while sorrow and sighing flee away.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 11 December 2022 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Gaudete Sunday)


Psalm 84 : 2

Benedixisti, Domine, terram Tuam : avertisti captivitatem Jacob : remisisti iniquitatem plebis Tuae.

English translation

Lord, You have blessed Your land. You have turned away the captivity of Jacob. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Devotionis nostrae Tibi, quaesumus, Domine, hostia jugiter immoletur : quae et sacri peragat instituta mysterii, et salutare Tuum in nobis mirabiliter operetur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

May the sacrifice of our devotion, we beseech You, o Lord, be continually offered to You, both to carry out Your designs in this holy Mystery and wonderfully to work in us Your salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.


Isaiah 35 : 4

Dicite : pusillanimes, confortamini et nolite timere : ecce, Deus noster veniet et salvabit nos.

English translation

Say, you faint hearted, take courage and do not fear, behold our God will come and will save us.

Post-Communion Prayer

Imploramus, Domine, clementiam Tuam : ut haec divina subsidia, a vitiis expiatos, ad festa ventura nos praeparent. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

We implore Your clemency, o Lord, that cleansed from our sins, these divine aids may prepare us for the coming festival. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 11 December 2022 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Gaudete Sunday)

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John

John 1 : 19-28

In illo tempore : Miserunt Judaei ab Jerosolymis sacerdotes et levitas ad Joannem, ut interrogarent eum : Tu quis es? Et confessus est, et non negavit : et confessus est : Quia non sum ego Christus. Et interrogaverunt eum : Quid ergo? Elias es tu? Et dixit : Non sum. Propheta es tu? Et respondit : Non.

Dixerunt ergo ei : Quis es, ut responsum demus his, qui miserunt nos? Quid dicis de te ipso? Ait : Ego vox clamantis in deserto : Dirigite viam Domini, sicut dixit Isaias Propheta. Et qui missi fuerant, erant ex pharisaeis. Et interrogaverunt eum, et dixerunt ei : Quid ergo baptizas, si tu non es Christus, neque Elias, neque Propheta?

Respondit eis Joannes, dicens : Ego baptizo in aqua : medius autem vestrum stetit, quem vos nescitis. Ipse est, qui post me venturus est, qui ante me factus est : cujus ego non sum dignus ut solvam ejus corrigiam calceamenti.

Haec in Bethania facta sunt trans Jordanem, ubi erat Joannes baptizans.

English translation

At that time, the Jews sent from Jerusalem, priests and Levites to John to ask him, “Who are you?” And he confessed, and did not deny, and he confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

They therefore said unto him, “Who are you that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What did you say of yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord, as said by the prophet Isaiah.” And those who were sent were of the Pharisees, and they asked him, and said to him, “Why, then, did you baptise, if you are not Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”

John answered them, saying, “I baptise with water, but there had stood One in your midst, Whom you do not know, the same One, He Who shall come after me. Who is preferred before me, the latchet of Whose shoe I am not worthy to loosen.”

These things were done in Bethania beyond the Jordan, where John was baptising.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 11 December 2022 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Gaudete Sunday)

Psalm 79 : 2-3 and Psalm 79 : 2

Qui sedes, Domine, super Cherubim, excita potentiam Tuam, et veni.

Response : Qui Reges Israel, intende : qui deducis, velut ovem, Joseph.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Excita, Domine, potentiam Tuam, et veni, ut salvos facias nos. Alleluja.

English translation

You, o Lord, Who sits upon the Cherubim, stir up Your might, and come.

Response : Give ear, o You Who rule Israel, You Who leads Joseph like a sheep.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : Stir up Your might, o Lord, and come, that You may save us. Alleluia.