Sunday, December 14, 2008

Third Sunday of Advent

The Baptism of Christ
Andrea del Verrocchio / 1435 – 1488
oil on panel 1472 - 1475
Galleria degli Uffizi

First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God.

Advent, from the Latin for "arrival" or "coming," is a period of preparation for the birth of our Lord. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and is the start of the Christmas season. The Christmas season ends on the first Sunday after the Epiphany, which in the U.S. is either January 7 or 8, on the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. If you think this is confusing try Lent and Easter.

The first Sunday of Advent also marks the beginning of the liturgical year, when we change the cycle of readings at Mass. Advent is a time of joyous anticipation, but also of penance and preparation for the great Christmas feast.

The liturgical color of the season is purple, a sign of penance, which is also used during Lent. The Church discourages excessive ornamentation, boisterous music and even weddings during Advent, in order to foster a sense of quiet hope. Liturgically speaking, Christmas parties are best celebrated on a Sunday during the Advent season. Although this may be true, most of my friends have considered this an idea best kept in theory, something we Catholics are particularly good at.

The third Sunday of Advent
is known as Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin, "Gaudete in Domino semper" ("Rejoice in the Lord always"), the first words of the opening antiphon for that day's Mass. On this Sunday rose-colored vestments are permitted and the rose-colored candle is lit as a reminder that we are called to rejoice.

Source on Advent notes: American Catholic Organization (with edit and comments from Editor)

Art from Art and the Bible

Mass times in the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth:

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