With only 14 days until Christmas, Christendom observes the Third Sunday of Advent on Dec. 11.
Also known as Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent is considered a Sunday of joy to highlight the nearness of the Birth of Christ on Dec. 25.
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 today’s holy 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.
Church leaders continue to call on the faithful to strengthen their relationship with God, to go to confession, to do charity work amid the pandemic, and to observe the joyous season in a solemn manner.
Church leaders are also encouraging the faithful to join the live mass in their respective parishes with ease in Covid-19 restrictions while still observing the minimum health standards.
Meanwhile, Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, has called on the faithful to go to confession as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas.
Advent, the Church leader said, is an opportune time to renew one’s faith and relationship with God. And one way to do this is by going to confession.
“Part of the observance of Advent is the renewal of our faith in God by going to confession. It must be penitential because Jesus came into the world to save mankind from eternal damnation. We have sinned against Him that is why we need to make the journey back to God for a more meaningful celebration of Christmas,” Bishop Baylon said.