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Sunday of Joy: ‘Come back to the Lord!’


By Christina Hermoso

“Admit your sins and come back to the Lord this Advent,” a priest urges the faithful as Christendom marks the Third Sunday of Advent, December 16.

“The greatest gift we can offer this Christmas is to wholeheartedly surrender ourselves to the Lord. God is talking to you in many ways. All you need to do is to learn how to listen. You know what the Lord asks of you,” said Rev. Fr. Joselito Buenafe during the recent Advent recollection for social communicators of parishes in the Archdiocese of Manila.

Rev. Fr. Joselito Buenafe (photo courtesy of Mary, Mirror of Justice Parish/ Facebook)

Rev. Fr. Joselito Buenafe (photo courtesy of Mary, Mirror of Justice Parish/ Facebook)

Fr. Buenafe, second assistant commissioner of the Archdiocesan Commission on Social Communications (ACSC), called on the faithful “to admit your sins and come back to the Lord this Advent.”

Nativity of Christ is near

Today, 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.”

A homecoming

Fr. Buenafe said Christmas is about homecoming, of giving without expecting anything in return.

“This season is about homecoming, of coming back to the Lord. We start our journey by going to confession,” Buenafe said. He added that Christmas entails giving and sharing without expecting anything in return.

“That, to me, is a sign of maturity. I do believe that all of us should go in that direction, of being able to share, to give, without really expecting to receive,” he said.

“And when you give, give with a joyful heart. When we give, we feel fulfilled. We give to make other people happy and that should be more than enough,” Buenafe stressed.

The entrance antiphon in today’s masses, “Rejoice in the Lord always,” (Gaudete in Domino semper) serves to remind the faithful of the significance of Christ’s birth.

Lighting the pink candle

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.

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