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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete! – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice!” (Phil 4:4). This is the opening of the Entrance Antiphon for Mass on the third Sunday of Advent and will be sung today throughout the world. The third Sunday of Advent is also known as “Gaudete Sunday” after the first word of this antiphon. Gaudete Sunday reminds us that Advent is a joyful time.

We are preparing ourselves to celebrate worthily the anniversary of the Lord's co-ming at Christmas. By doing so, we seek to make our souls fitting “temples of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 6:19) in preparation for receiving Jesus in Holy Communion.

We are “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 3:19). The coming of Christ is a joyful event! We look forward to our God coming to be with us in the mystery of the incarnation. Yes, God has visited his people and redeemed them (cf. Lk 1:68). God who “created heaven and earth” has come among us as the child at Bethlehem, born of the Virgin Mary (cf. Gen 1:1, Lk 2:7). By Mary’s intercession and God's grace He is to be born again in our hearts. What great happiness we can feel as we consider the Lord coming among us today, as a man, primarily in the Eucharist and so in our hearts and lives. In Advent (as in Lent) the priest wears purple vestments as a sign of our preparation – today rose coloured vestments are used as an especial mark of this joy.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice! The Lord is near”. As we approach the feast of the Nativity, we can feel more intensely the joy of which the Apostle Paul speaks. He does not arbitrarily command us to be happy. Rather, we hope and pray naturally to rejoice in our intimate union with a God who reveals the depths of His love for us by sending us His only son (cf. Jn 3:16).

In order to open ourselves to this joy we have extra confessions today and next Sunday 6-7 p.m., next Sunday 11:15 am – 12:15 pm, and our parish penitential service this Tuesday 7:30 pm.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 2:34 pm