I invite you to use the insert in this bulletin for daily reflections on the O Antiphons this week, as final preparation for celebrating the first Coming of our Savior. It can also be found on our webpage. The O Antiphons have been used in the liturgy of the Church since at least the eighth century, each day highlighting another name for Christ and asking Him to come and help us. A wonderful reflection aid!
Christmas is the day when more Catholics attend Mass than any other day of the year, on average about three times as many. To be good evangelizers, we need to be welcoming. A smile and a greeting go a long way. A couple other helpful gestures of welcome might be to make room in the pew for others; to sit in the middle of a pew, so visitors don’t need to crawl over you; to remember a name given when we greet those around us at the beginning of Mass and use it at the sign of peace; and to ask someone who looks unsure if help is needed. Please be aware that our welcoming attitude might be just what the Lord uses to bring someone closer to Him.
With the third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, a word which means “rejoice.” The excitement is caught in the first words of our reading from St. Paul’s letter to Philippians: Rejoice in the Lord, always, again I say rejoice.
The point is that our Savior has come, He has redeemed us, all will be OK. Paul says, Have no anxiety at all, but in everything…make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Christians who are happy and joyful attract others to Christ, the source of their peace. Dour and sullen Christians are not attractive at all.
As we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, rejoicing in Christ’s presence in our lives and the Salvation He brings, let us reflect on the demeanor that we show to others. Is our joyfulness inviting them to discover what we have that brings us such joy? How can we do better? May the joy of the O Antiphons enliven our hearts! And let us support each other in prayer.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS