Newsletter — Third Sunday of Advent B – 17th December 2023

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Our First Reading is taken from Isaiah 61:1-2a,10-11: The Lord’s salvation will be made known to the poor and the oppressed.

The Responsorial Psalm is Mary’s Magnificat from Luke 1:46-50,53-54: Mary sings praise to God.

This week’s Second Reading is from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24: Paul encourages the Thessalonians to rejoice and pray always.

Today’s Gospel Reading is John 1:6-8,19-28: John gives testimony that he is preaching and baptizing in order to prepare for the coming of another.

This Sunday’s Gospel invites us to continue our reflection on the person and mission of John the Baptist. The Gospel of John reports on the ministry of John the Baptist. We learn about the attention that John the Baptist received from the Jewish authorities. Messengers from the Jewish priests, the Levites and the Pharisees question John about his identity and the meaning of the baptisms that he is performing. St John the Baptist announces that the Saviour they seek is already among them, but as yet unrecognized. John’s response highlights for us an important Advent theme: Jesus has already come into the world as our Saviour. During Advent, we pray that we will be able to recognize Jesus’ presence in our midst. Advent also reminds us that Jesus will come again to fulfill the promise of salvation. We pray that
we will continue to be watchful as we anticipate that great day. The third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete, a Latin word which means “rejoice,” is taken from the entrance antiphon for Sunday’s Mass. This theme is echoed in today’s readings, especially in the second reading from the first
Letter to the Thessalonians. It is a reminder that Advent is a season of joy because our salvation is already at hand.

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