News for Gaudete Sunday: 13th December 2020

News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th December 2020: Gaudete Sunday – the Third Sunday of Advent

This weekend we light the third candle on our Advent wreath which is traditionally coloured pink, rather than purple. This is to mirror the colour of the vestments worn by the celebrant this weekend, which are described in the rubric as “Rose Pink”. The third candle represents the shepherds in the nativity narrative, and the message given to them by the angel: “I bring you good news of great joy” – so our third candle also represents joy. This is Gaudete Sunday, which I have to admit always reminds me of the song which in the 1970's entered the British Pop Chart sung by Steeleye Span (but subsequently by others) and you can view and listen to them on YouTube. Not often that a mediaeval latin chant gets into the “Top 20”, especially when some of the lyrics proclaim: “Christ is born of the Virgin Mary” {Gaudete, Gaudete, Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine, Gaudete} The word Gaudete literally translates to “Rejoice” and is taken from the Entrance Antiphon that you will find on this Sunday's Readings: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.”

And if ever there was a time to rejoice, the 'beginning of the end of this pandemic' with the start of the Covid vaccinations this week give us the light at the end of a very long tunnel. The joy of those first recipients – the elderly, the nursing staff, the carers, the vulnerable; however cannot be measured against the joy of Mary as she prepares for the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel; God with Us. Nor the joy of the shepherds (after their initial shock) of being sent to Bethlehem: “For to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” We hear the same message in the media and on the news: “These are life-changing events” – just as they were two thousand years ago.

There is still an ever-increasing sense of anticipation and we know that Christmas will soon be here. But remember that we can receive Him NOW, in the Blessed Sacrament, at the First Mass of Sunday on Saturday 12th December at 6.00pm and on Sunday 13th December at 10.30am. These too are life-changing events … and we don't have to wait for someone to invite us to receive Him. Rejoice in the Lord, always; and again I say, rejoice!”

David Griffiths