By Christina Hermoso
“Be watchful and alert,” the Holy Father Pope Francis reminds the faithful this Advent Season.
“The person who is vigilant and alert is the one who welcomes the invitation to watch, that is, not to let themselves be overwhelmed by the sleep of discouragement, the lack of hope, or by delusions. Jesus exhorts us to pay attention and to watch, to be ready to welcome Him at the moment of His return. Advent is a time given to us to welcome the Lord who comes to meet us, to verify our desire for God, to look ahead and prepare ourselves for the return of Christ,” the Pontiff said in his Angelus address at the St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.Christendom marks the Third Sunday of Advent tomorrow.
“Christ will return again at Christmas, when we remember how He came to us in the humility of the human condition.However, Christ also comes to each of us every time we are disposed to receive Him and He will come again at the end of time to judge the living and the dead,” the Holy Father said.
“Because of this, we must always be watchful and attentive to the Lord with the hope of meeting Him,” he added.The Church leader reminds the faithful to remain attentive yet compassionate and not be distracted by the ‘noise’ of the world.
“The person who pays attention is the one who, in the noise of the world, does not let him or herself be overwhelmed by distraction or superficiality, but lives in a full and conscious way, with a concern directed above all to others. With this attitude, we become aware of the tears and needs of others. The attentive person tries to counter the indifference and cruelty in the world and rejoices in the treasures of beauty that also exist in it,” Pope Francis said.
Meanwhile, Catholics mark the Third Sunday of Advent as Gaudete Sunday, a Sunday of joy, to highlight the nearness of the Nativity of Christ.
According to Church leaders, “Gaudete Sunday signifies the nearness of the Lord’s second coming. The observance reminds the faithful to meet the coming Savior with prayers,supplication, and thanksgiving.”
The entrance antiphon in tomorrow’s masses, “Rejoice in the Lord always,” (Gaudete in Domino semper) serves to remind the faithful of the significance of Christ’s birth. Church rites will include the lighting of the sole pink candle, the candle of joy, in the Advent wreath, to emphasize the shift in focus from the penitential mood of the first two Sundays of Advent to the joyous expectation of Christ’s birth.
The two purple candles which symbolize penance and hope respectively, will also be lit.