Advent Meditations: Sunday 17 December

Dec 17, 2017 by

Dec 17
am: 63,  98
pm: 103
Amos 9:11-15 2 Thess 2:1-3, 13-17 John 5:30-47

Sunday Advent III

Liturgical Notes on the Third Sunday of Advent:  This third week begins with “Gaudete Sunday.” Gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin.  It comes from the first word of the Entrance antiphon on Sunday.  The spirit of joy that begins this week comes from the words of Paul, “The Lord is near.”  This joyful spirit is marked by the third candle of our Advent wreath, which is rose colored, and the rose colored vestments often used at the Eucharist.  Advent in the Latin Rite is  a penitential season, a type of mini- Lent, where in contrast to Sarum Blue the liturgical color is purple. Thus, on Gaudete Sunday, marking the midpoint of Advent, the Church lightens the mood a little, and the priest may wear rose vestments as it does in Lent with Laetare Sunday. The change in color provides us with encouragement to continue our spiritual preparation—especially prayer and fasting—for Christmas.

The second part of Advent begins on this day marking the Octave of Christmas.  We read the stories of faithful women and men who prepared the way for our salvation.  We enter into the story of how Jesus’ life began.  These stories are filled with hints of what his life will mean for us.  Faith and generosity overcome impossibility.  Poverty and persecution reveal glory.

They are referred to as the “O Antiphons” because the title of each one begins with the “O” followed by a name for Christ, based on one of his attributes mentioned in Scripture. In the Roman Catholic tradition, the O Antiphons are sung or recited at Vespers from December 17 to December 23 inclusive (but see note below on the alternative English usage). In the Church of England they have held pride of place by inclusion in the Calendar of The Book of Common Prayer where the first antiphon O Sapientia is noted on December 16 .  In the Anglican tradition the O Antiphons have been used as antiphons to the Magnificat at Evening Prayer during this period beginning on 16 December.

Biblical Meditation In today’s Gospel for the Daily Office, we are taken off course of the Advent Journey a bit as this passage doesn’t foretell of Jesus coming but rather tells exactly what he is going to be about from his own lips. For some the claims about himself are a bit startling beginning with the proclamation that he is “the Son of God,” “the One sent by the Father,” “the Source of all life” (physical and spiritual), “the Judge of all the world), and “the Raiser of the dead. No doubt to the Jewish authorities this was stunning yet Jesus provides additional witnesses to His claims is for the sake of those present then and for those seeking him in this Holy Season now. The primary witness is the Father (5:32, 37, cf. 1 John 5:9). The Father provides testimony by means of three witnesses. The witnesses specified in this passage bear testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ’s true identity and therefore those who reject Him but they also reject the testimony of John, the past miracles and the clear affirmation of his ministry in the Scriptures.

This is no different to today. Increasingly as the season of the Christ child is marginalized so is the legacy and power of the truth of the story. Just as the Jews rejected valid testimony so do friends and family along with coworkers and neighbors reject the power of the Living God despite powerful testimony. It is an important reminder for us that the ease of acceptance that was once the culture is no more and that we in this Holy Season must strive to give testimony to the Christ child, the God made Man

Many want this season to be fun, with lights and parties and there is nothing amiss about that but Christ the Redeemer is not about fun. It’s about our coming to terms with our need for redemption and the fantastic idea that our greatest Hope was born in a stable. Could this really be the one we are to place all our hope? Rejoice it is!

PRAYER: Incline Thine ear to our prayers, O Lord, we beseech Thee; and make bright the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Spiritual Discipline /Activity — Rose Sunday is the day that custom has it that we begin to decorate our homes for the holydays to come. One starts with the front door and concludes with the Christmas tree. Let the world know that they are welcome in your house and that the birth of Christ is being prepared to be celebrated there. As the town of Bethlehem, ‘awaited the birth of Jesus, how can we ‘take the extra step’ to prepare with joy, something special and well done to express our hospitality to loved ones and the Poor?


ANCIENT WISDOM/PRESENT GRACE: Instructed by that which we ourselves feel, let us not consider the text as something which we have only heard, but rather like something which we have experienced and which we touch with our hands; not like a strange and unheard of story, but rather like something that we bring out to light from the deepest part of our heart, as if these were sentiments which form part of our being. Let us repeat them; it is not the reading (the study) what makes us penetrate into the sense or meaning of the words, but rather our own experience which has previously been acquired in the life of every day”. (Collationes X, 11). – St. John Cassian






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