Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28
The third Sunday of Advent is sometimes called Gaudete from the Latin word which begins the reading from 1 Thessalonians meaning, “Rejoice.” Hearing this message of joy coming after several weeks of readings of a more somber and penitential nature, these are welcome readings. They lift our hearts once more to the joy found in our anticipation of the coming of the Messiah.
The first reading from Isaiah includes the portion of scripture that Jesus read in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth. After reading from the scroll Jesus proclaimed that “this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (see Luke 4:12-22). It was a message of deliverance to an oppressed people.
The psalm ends with the phrase: “Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.” In 1 Thessalonians we are told to “Rejoice always!” and to “pray without ceasing” so that our spirit, souls and bodies may “be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In the Gospel John the Baptizer, who “came as a witness to testify to the light,” proclaimed the light which had come into the world to lighten all our darkness.
In these days of deepening darkness of December take a moment to remember Jesus’ words to the disciples in the last discourse from John 16.22: “So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
Sr. Elizabeth Ann Eckert, SSJD