Reflection: Third Sunday of Advent

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Zep.3:14-18; Ps.12; 2nd Reading – Phil.4:4-7; Gospel – Lk.3:10-18]


The third Sunday of Advent is known as the “Gaudete” Sunday in which the Church, through the readings, invites us to Rejoice and Be Happy. We are also told why we should Rejoice and Be Happy:

  1. In the First Reading, we are told that we should rejoice for the fact that the Lord has repealed our sentence. He has driven the enemies away. We are told that the Lord is in our midst and therefore we should not have any more evil to fear. He will exult with joy over us, He will renew us by His love and He will dance with shouts of joy for us as on a day of festival.

  2. The Second Reading is even more direct in the invitation to rejoice: “I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness”. St. Paul depicts himself as a parent – he wants “happiness” for his children. For him, and therefore for us whom he generated in faith, the reason for this happiness stands in the fact that “the Lord is very near” and therefore “there is no need to worry”. He says that His presence will give us His peace – a gift much greater than our understanding of it. This peace is given through Jesus Christ who is ready to guard our hearts and thoughts – if we accept Him in our life!!!

  3. The Psalm too repeats the theme of the First Reading. It is inviting us to sing and shout for joy because great is the Holy One of Israel in our midst. The Psalmist himself shows his trust and his appreciation of the presence of the Lord in his life and in his people.

  4. The gospel seems to be different in the way it is trying to convey “joy” and “happiness”.

While the rest of the readings project a very clear way of why and how to rejoice and be happy, the gospel seems to be somewhat different. John the Baptist is teaching and sharing his wisdom. He is questioned by three different categories of people: all the people, the tax collectors and the soldiers. They all have the same question: “What must we do?” John has a different yet specific answer to the different categories. Though different, the answers are very similar to each other. In his address to the interlocutors (people, tax collectors and soldiers) John is saying that everyone, whatever the social class may be, is to be respected for what s/he is because we are all equal in the eyes of God. Therefore our happiness should be in the fact that Jesus, the only powerful one, is ready to come, take a human body and be one of us – to give us an example of how our life should be. Furthermore, he wants to be present in our life and at the same time is also ready to share the Holy Spirit with us. In such a way we can participate in the same joy and happiness that can be found in God Himself. Thus, we take away all the possible barriers between us, God’s creatures, created according to His own image, to be able to see Him as He truly is (not only in the other person), and make space for Him in our life, because He is coming to share His Happiness and Joy with us. May this be our own personal experience of God!

“Lord, John the Baptist prepared your way. Help us to accept John’s exhortation and to prepare ourselves well enough for the imminent coming of the Christ amongst us. Thank you Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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