3rd Sunday of Advent - Gaudete Sunday

12-17-2023Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Peace and Joy in Our Lord Jesus!

Maranatha! It simply means, “Come Lord Jesus!” This simple prayer of the early Christians was offered because they expected the Lord’s return at any moment. As they waited for His coming, they lived like it and they were joyful about it. Today is a reminder that the celebrations of Christ’s coming are soon.

The 3rd Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday. It is the day we light the rose-colored candle on the Advent wreath and the priest and deacon wear the rose-colored vestments. Gaudete comes from the Latin verb gaudere (to rejoice). Doesn’t our world need more hope and joyful people of God?

Our relationship with Christ needs to be reflected in our attitudes. We have a Savior! Jesus Christ is our JOY! The Advent season also has a definite penitential component to help us focus on what is truly important. The violet (purple) colored candles remind us to prepare for the coming of Christ. Fasting and penance is a way to prepare as we lead up to the feast of our Savior's birth. The rose candle reminds us of the joy that is to come, and serves, amid this season of penance, as a 'break' when we recall the hope we have because of the coming of Our Lord.

Advent invites us to get our houses in order. This helps us to realize that, for those who persevere, it will be our great deliverance from the troubles and trials of this world! All the world will bend the knee… some in terror—but as for God's friends, we will bend the knee in joyful adoration as Jesus takes His place as Our King.

As you make your plans for the upcoming Christmas celebrations, you may face a certain Catholic dilemma. Many will go to Holy Mass on Christmas Eve or Christmas day… thanks be to God. There are those who will not even give it a second thought about the fact that we have an opportunity to go to Mass on Sunday – the 4th Sunday of Advent. The great blessing of being able to attend Holy Mass TWO DAYS IN A ROW can be a lot to ask. But our spiritual health needs to be treated with great care. God loves us but sometimes our recollection of His love is sporadic. We need the Bread of Life to remain connected to Our Lord. Our souls need the real spiritual nourishment that only God can provide. Holy Mass gives us real food from Heaven – the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Savior and our promise of eternal life. There is no substitute for Mass or the grace we receive from Our Lord especially in Holy Communion.

Our Lord commanded us to keep holy the Sabbath. I want you to consider the great importance we place on Holy Mass. If you are struggling or know someone who is in need of God’s grace, then going to Mass can open hearts and minds to the wonders of God’s generous love for us. What an amazing gift it is to celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent on Sunday and Christmas on Monday! Is it a sacrifice? Of course! Is it worth the extra effort? It can only deepen your faith and understanding of the sacrificial love Our Lord has for us!

The Christmas Mass schedule for December 24th/25th is as follows: The Masses for Sunday, December 24th are: 8:00am and 10:00am. Later that same day, December 24th we will celebrate Christmas Eve Masses 5:00pm and 11:00pm. Monday is Christmas Day, December 25th and the Masses will be at 8:00am, 10:00am.

Let us pray that this Christmas season will be a time for spiritual renewal for the human family.

God Bless,

Fr. Don Kline, V.F.