13 Dec 2014

14th December 2014 - Advent Reflections - Trocaire Christmas Gifts - 3rd Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)

On this weeks programme Michelle Hoctor joins John on the programme to explain Trocaire's Christmas Gifts. We have a series of short Advent reflections for Gaudate Sunday as well as our weekly reflection on the Sunday gospel and some other liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to the podcast of this weeks programme HERE.

Gaudate Sunday




Certain Sundays throughout the liturgical year have taken their names from the first word in Latin of the Introit, the entrance antiphon at Mass. Gaudete Sunday - the third Sunday of Advent is one of these. The Introit for Gaudete Sunday is taken from Philippians 4:4,5: "Gaudete in Domino semper" ("Rejoice in the Lord always").

"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.


Like Lent, Advent is a penitential season, so the priest normally wears purple vestments. But on Gaudete Sunday, having passed the midpoint of Advent, the Church lightens the mood a little, and the priest may wear rose vestments. The change in color provides us with encouragement to continue our spiritual preparation—especially prayer and fasting—for Christmas. For this same reason, the third candle of the Advent wreath, first lit on Gaudete Sunday, is traditionally rose-colored.

Trocaire's Christmas Gifts



Michelle Hoctor joins John on this weeks programme to share about Trocaire's Christmas Gifts.

Each Trócaire Gift is sourced locally and sustainably from the country where it is needed. So the gifts not only support families in the world's poorest places, they grow the local economy too.

When you buy a Trócaire Gift, your money goes to the developing world – buying gifts as well as funding critical work in the following programmes: human rights, livelihoods, Somalia, and HIV.

You will receive a card as a symbol of the Trócaire Gift you have purchased. You can then give this card to a friend, family member or client to explain the meaning of the gift. Alternatively an e-card can be emailed directly to your chosen recipient.

You can listen to Michelle's interview excerpted from the programme HERE.

You can buy online from Trocaire's website HERE.

Advent Reflections



On this weeks programme we pause amidst the rush and panic of this time of year for a period of reflection on Advent and the build up to Christmas. We use contributions to the blog for this weeks programme which you can read HERE.

You can listen to the reflections excerpted from this weeks programme HERE.

Gospel - John 1:6-8, 19-28





There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ." And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" And he answered, "No." They said to him then, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, `Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said."

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, "Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?" John answered them, "I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie." This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.




What are you a witness for?
What does your life point to? value? honour?


We are in the third week of Advent, and many of us have forgotten the best laid plans of November, and are drawn back into the bustle and worry of Christmas preparations. This Sunday the church offers us a happy pause! Purple lightens to Rose, and we focus on joy. 'Gaudete Sunday' means literally 'Rejoice Sunday', or the Sunday to rejoice

So instead of beating ourselves up, lets stop and notice God who is blessing us each day. The Holy Spirit who is already with us as we struggle to 'prepare the way'. Jesus who invites us into a new and deeper friendship this Christmas time. 

John was a witness for the light. Can you be a witness for the light too? Can you notice and name the ways and places in which God is here and blessing us? Can you stop and see the light filled spaces around us? 

When we make the time to notice God-who-is -with-us, we begin to be witnesses for the light too. The light of God - visible in all people and in our lives. Then we can sing with Mary in this Sundays responsorial psalm:

Response: My soul rejoices in my God.

1. My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her nothingness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.

2. The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear him.

3. He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy.




Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Gaudete Sunday-Advent and John the Baptist?English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy

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