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Advent III: Heaven

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Heaven Perhaps the most noticeable thing about the Third Sunday of Advent (Advent III) is that the Priest wears rose-colored vestments while celebrating mass. This is one of only two times in the whole liturgical year when this liturgical color is used--the other is the Fourth Sunday of Lent. Advent III is also known as 'Gaudete Sunday' due to the fact that the entrance chant begins with the words 'Gaudete in Domino semper' or 'Rejoice in the Lord always' (cf. Phil. 4.4-5). Advent III marks the midway point in this season of preparation and expectation both for Christmas and the Second Coming of Christ. Traditionally, we reflect on the third of the four final things: Heaven.  The readings for the day refer to the coming of God's kingdom on earth and, more precisely, what we must do to enable its arrival. The first reading (from the prophet Isaiah) is a rallying call for social justice, to free and uplift the poor and those who are downtrodden--something whic

Advent II

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 Judgement During last Sunday's Gospel reading we heard Jesus telling his disciples to 'Stay awake' and 'not to be found sleeping' when the Master comes back from his journey. There, the focus is clearly on Christ's coming again--be it during our lives or after our death.  This week's Gospel reading is taken from the very start of Mark's gospel. It is the story of the appearance of John the Baptist at the river Jordan who, as Mark relates, is Isaiah's 'messenger' who prepares the way of the Lord. Clothed in a camel hair tunic and subsisting on a diet of locusts and honey, he preaches a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The repentance and baptism that he preaches prepares us to encounter Christ, to receive the Holy Spirit, and to become God's children by adoption. As St Paul says in his letter to the Galatians, after Baptism 'you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you