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Advent Wreath, Third Sunday By Hans [CC0]

Gaudete Sunday

Today is Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday in the Season of Advent. The season of Advent originated as a fast of forty days in preparation for Christmas. In the ninth century, the duration of Advent was reduced to four weeks and by the twelfth century the fast had been replace by simple abstinence.

Not withstanding the changes occurring over the centuries, Advent preserved most of the characteristics of a penitential season which made it a kind of counterpart to lent. The third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, breaks through a season that is otherwise penitential to signify the nearness of the Lord’s coming.

Guadete Sunday is further marked by a new invitatory, after December 17, the Church no longer inviting the faithful to adore merely “Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come”, but calling upon them to worship and hail with joy “The Lord is close at hand; come, let us worship him.”

Advent is a time of expectation and preparation for the Christmas feast as well as for the second coming of Christ, and the penitential exercises suitable to this season are thus on Gaudete Sunday suspended, for awhile, in order to symbolize our joy and gladness in the Promised Redemption which should never be absent from the heart of the faithful.


The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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