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Sunday, December 11, 2005

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Third Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Luke 1:46-50, 53-54
John 1:6-8, 19-28

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dress for success

"I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul." —Isaiah 61:10

The third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday, or Rejoice Sunday. Turn off the football games; put off that trip to the mall; set aside the Christmas decorations. It's time to "rejoice in the Lord"! (Phil 4:4)

On Christmas, many people receive various articles of clothing as presents: ties, socks, sweaters, and warm winter clothes. Today, God has better clothes to give us: garments of praise. He puts a crown on our heads to cast off grief (Is 61:3). To get us in that Christmas rejoicing spirit, God gives us a shirt of justice and a robe of salvation (Is 61:10). He gives us a winter coat, a "glorious mantle" which gets rid of any "listless spirit" of complacency over Jesus' Christmas coming (Is 61:3). Because it is God Who gives us the garments of praise, everything is just the right size. Our rejoicing clothes are custom-made by God to be a perfect fit. Now, with Mary, we can sing: "My spirit finds joy in God my Savior" (Lk 1:47).

When Jesus comes this Christmas, we must be wearing the right clothes to greet Him. Once Jesus told a parable about the heavenly wedding feast. A man was found who was "not properly dressed" (Mt 22:11). He was cast outside, to wail and grind his teeth for eternity. So, we'll be making noise forever. Will we be wailing in hell or rejoicing in heaven? Decide today. Put on God's clothes and "rejoice heartily in the Lord" (Is 61:10).

Prayer:  Father, may I always produce for You that fruit of the Spirit which is joy (Gal 5:22). Come, Holy Spirit!

Promise:  "Rejoice always...such is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." —1 Thes 5:16, 18

Praise:  Praise Jesus, Who teaches us how to pray and praise!

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 19, 2005

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