News for Sunday 11th December: The Third Sunday of Advent

News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th December 2022: Third Sunday of Advent

Dear friends,

This Sunday coming, the Third Sunday in Advent, is known as Gaudete Sunday, or the Sunday of Joy! The theme of the liturgy is signified also by the change into vestments of rose pink, a “lightening” of the Advent colours of purple and violet, as our hearts and spirits rise in response to the prospect of Christ's coming at Christmas. 'Shout for joy!' says our first reading; 'Sing and shout for joy' is the response used in our psalm; 'be happy, always happy in the Lord' continues our second reading – each passage of Scripture suffused with this message of radiant joy.

As Christians, we have no distinctive dress as do the adherents of other religions – no turbans or veils or skullcaps – but there is still something we can put on when we leave our houses each morning: as Christians, each day we should wear a smile of joy! Pope Francis has taught that joy is the air which we breathe as Christians, because it is a gift from God's Holy Spirit: 'Joy does not mean living from laugh to laugh,' he said: 'No, it's not that. Joy is not entertainment… It is something else. Christian joy is peace, peace that is deeply rooted, peace in the heart, the peace that only God can give.'

So let our celebration of Advent, and then, when it comes, of Christmas, not be at base mere entertainment, but a profound recovery and sharing of the knowledge of God's peace. Please continue to assist with our preparations for Christmas – both spiritually by prayer and penance, and also in respect of the delivering, donating and decorating to which we are invited via the pew sheet.

With my prayers and best wishes for a holy Advent and a happy Christmas,

Fr Richard