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December 2012

Feast of Holy Innocents-December 28th

This Feast of the Holy Innocents brings to mind the sadness that continues to this day by the willful murder of innocent children -- be it in the classroom as at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, by failure to provide adequate food and nurturing surroundings as in some third world countries wracked by civil war, or as in our own cities and towns, by abortion.

Today we specifically recall the extent to which Herod, an egomaniacal madman, went in order that he might find and slaughter the newborn Jesus. What kind of a threat could Jesus or any child be that could spawn such horror? What indeed?

There are some theories, but the end result is that the light of God's goodness is spurned by the death-dealing darkness of sin.

You can say guns are the reason, or that children in third world countries don't matter, or it's a woman's body and after all "it" really isn't yet a person, but what it all boils down to is sin.

Do then grieve, for sin has killed the innocent, but also rejoice in this Holy Season of Christmas and indeed every day and season for: "We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not only for our sins but for those of the whole world."
(see 1 John 2:1-2)

By Donna Raye Nelson, OCDS |

Feast of Holy Innocents-December 28th

Feast of Holy Innocents-December 28th

Feast of Holy Innocents-December 28th

Third Sunday of Advent Cycle C

December 16, 2012

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The question asked in today's Gospel

What shall we do?

What shall I do?


Review the Readings

Listen to the Readings


  Photo Dec 09, 3 12 37 PMSince the beginning of Advent we have been waiting and watching for the coming of the Lord. We have watched for Him everyday in all the events of our lives.

We know that He will come at the end of time, at the moment of our death, but also everyday.  Advent has called us to focus on seeing Him everyday.

I hope that during the past few weeks of Advent you have had some small experience of the presence of Christ; that He did come and continues to come.

 Even if you did not experience His presence, it is important to not give up waiting and watching for the Lord.

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This Sunday is also called Gaudete Sunday. The word means rejoice.

We can rejoice because we know that the Lord will come again and again and again with this love and his mercy and forgiveness.  

Photo Dec 09, 3 15 24 PM We will notice that the celebrant at the mass, has the option of wearing pink or Rose on this Sunday.






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Also, the third candle of the Advent Wreath, usually pink, is lit.






The readings give us great hope, no matter where we find ourselves today.  Listen carefully as they are proclaimed at Mass on Sunday.  God always wants to use His Word to speak to each of us individually as well as a community.

Photo Dec 09, 2 44 59 PMThe first reading is from Zephaniah who was a priest in the second half of the seventh century B.C.

This was a period in which God's chosen people had turned to the pagan gods of the people around them.


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Zephaniah had chastised the people for turning to pagan gods.

 It is so easy, in our world today, to turn to pagan gods. Such things as money, as power, as fame, etc.  can all become pagan idols for us.

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Certainly drugs, alcohol, smoking, TV, and almost anything we abuse can become  a pagan god. We use them to take the pain and struggle away for our lives, and we refuse to carry the Cross which we received at our Baptism.

Zephaniah assured the people, that in spite of their unfaithfulness, God would not abandon them. We hear the words,  "shout for joy, sing joyfully, be glad and exault."

Hope is given to the people of the Old Testament, and hope is given to each of us, even in those moments when we turned to pagan gods, when we have refused to carry our cross.

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In the Gospel reading, John the Baptist is in the wilderness preaching to the people and each group of people asks the question...

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"What should we do?"

Perhaps that is the question we each need to reflect on as we think about what do I need to do; what do we need to pray to change in our own lives and thus be ready for the coming of the Lord every single day.


 "What should we do?"

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The second reading, a letter to the Philippians, gives us further insight to that question.  This letter was written to the Philippians who were suffering rejections and  persecutions. They are told to...

"Rejoice in the Lord always; I shall say it again, rejoice."

There is a story regarding St. Francis of Assisi; it seems that he was always joyful in spite of hunger, in spite of cold, in spite of rejections,  persecutions, etc.   He was always able to...

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When St. Francis would find one of the brothers who were sad, he told that brother that he needed go to confession because he was outside of the grace of God. Francis clearly understood that whatever happens is a part of God's will, and we should always rejoice even in those moments of struggle and difficulties. 


 This Third Sunday of Advent or Gaudete Sunday can be for us a call to look at our attitude, especially in those moments of struggles and difficulties.  Are we truly able in our hearts to ...

"rejoice always in the Lord?"

And if the answer is no, not always; then  we know exactly what we need to pray for.

Help me to trust you, Lord in all things,

even in the struggles and difficulties.  

Help me not to not turn to pagan gods or idols when I struggle and suffer...

Help me to...

Photo Dec 09, 2 59 34 PM