Welcome back to a little liturgy. This week we still wait but emerge from violet into rose. The Entrance Antiphon urges us to "Rejoice!" for "the Lord is near". The readings and psalm concern the people surrounding Christ on earth. I have tried to focus on the roles they had and how they accepted their responsibilities with joy.
Summary of Liturgy of the Word
Isaiah tells us that the Lord has anointed him and sent him "to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken" and to "proclaim liberty to captives". He rejoices in the Lord and is glad that he has been given integrity.
Luke 1:46-50, 53-54. R. Is 61:10
My soul rejoices in my God
St Paul tells us to be happy, pray and give thanks to God. He urges us to think before we act and avoid evil. He ends with encouragement and the words "God has called you and he will not fail you".
John 1:6-8, 19-28
St John describes John the Baptist as a witness to speak for the light. He says that John told the priests and Levites he was the voice in the wilderness sent to prepare a way for the Lord. John says that he baptises with water. However, he says that there is someone coming after him and that he is not fit to undo the strap of his sandal.
Isaiah exults and rejoices in his role as a bringer of good news to the poor. The imagery used this week is positive; it concerns garments, jewels and the growth of seeds. Much of this imagery is familiar to us from the New Testament and shows the link between the prophet's role and that of Jesus. Isaiah has been anointed, just as we are in Baptism. Which other sacraments involve anointing - how does this relate to our mission as Christians?
Mary echoes Isaiah's joy and also mentions God's concern for the poor. St Paul commands us to "be happy at all times" and to give thanks to God. All these characters have accepted their jobs with enthusiasm and are happy to be part of God's plan.
Activity for Mass
Some parts of the Mass are the same every week and some parts change. We know that the readings (The Liturgy of the Word) changes every week but other parts also change according to the season or the choice of the local church.
One of these sections is the COLLECT. It is early on in the Mass just after the Gloria (today after the Kyrie). Read it carefully and see how it relates to Advent.
O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord's Nativity, enable us we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
The characters involved in today's Liturgy of the Word - Isaiah, Mary, St Paul, John the Evangelist and John the Baptist - have all been called by God to fulfil special roles associated with Jesus. See if you can identify what God asked them to do and how he asked them. You may have to fill in any gaps in your knowledge when you get home. (I have left space at the bottom of the list for you to fill in your own name!)
CHARACTER JOB HOW THEY WERE TOLD
John the Evangelist
John the Baptist
Other resources and activities
Tell Out My Soul!
Find this passage in the New Testament - Luke 1: 26-56 and read the story of the Annunciation and the Visitation. Which other prayers do you know that recall these events?
Use the link below to look at some artistic representations of the Baptism of Christ:
Artistic representations of the Baptism of Christ
Last week's question
Why is there a pink candle on the Advent wreath?
There are four weeks in Advent and we use the colour violet (purple) to suggest a sombre mood as we wait for Christmas. On the third Sunday, the our Entrance Antiphon begins with the word "Rejoice" or in Latin "Gaudete". This Sunday is therefore known as "Gaudete Sunday" and is a little less sombre - the readings mention joy and happiness - so we lighten the shade to rose (pink). The priest's vestments may also be rose. Find out on which other Sunday the priest wears rose vestments.
This week's question
Where can I find the story of Christmas in the Bible?
All the best for the week ahead!