December 16, 2018Download the Bulletin as a PDF
From The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger, Abbot of Solesmes:
To-day, again, the Church is full of joy, and the joy is greater than it was. It is true that her Lord has not come; but she feels that He is nearer than before, and therefore she thinks it just to lessen some what the austerity of this penitential season by the innocent cheerfulness of her sacred rites. And first, this Sunday has had the name of Gaudete given to it, from the first word of the Introit; it also is honoured with those impressive exceptions which belong to the fourth Sunday of Lent, called Laetare. The organ is played at the Mass; the vestments are rose-colour... How touching are all these usages, and how admirable this condescension of the Church, wherewith she so beautifully blends together the unalterable strictness of the dogmas of faith and the graceful poetry of the formulae of her liturgy. Let us enter into her spirit, and be glad on this third Sunday of her Advent, because our Lord is now so near unto us. To-morrow we will resume our attitude of servants mourning for the absence of their Lord and waiting for Him; for every delay, however short, is painful and makes love sad.
Today’s Entrance Antiphon or Introit is from Philippians 4,4 -5: “Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Indeed the Lord is near.” These words prompt Dom Gueranger to remark:
Nothing is more just than that we rejoice in the Lord. Both the prophet and the apostle excite us to desire the Saviour, both of them promise us peace. Therefore, let us not be solicitous: the Lord is nigh; nigh to His Church, and nigh to each of our souls. Who can be near so burning a fire, and yet be cold? Do we not feel that He is coming to us, in spite of all obstacles? He will let nothing be a barrier between Himself and us, neither His own infinite high majesty, nor our exceeding lowliness, nor our many sins. Yet a little while, and He will be with us. Let us go out to meet Him by these prayers and supplications, and thanksgiving which the apostle recommends to us. Let our zeal to unite ourselves with our holy mother the Church become more than ever fervent: now every day her prayers will increase in intense earnestness, and her longings after Him, who is her light and her love, will grow more ardent.
Tomorrow, the 17th day of December and the 82nd birthday of Pope Francis, the Church enters into “the seven days, which precede the Vigil of Christmas, and which are known in the Liturgy under the name of the Greater Ferias.... Every day, at Vespers, is sung a solemn Antiphon, which consists of a fervent prayer to the Messias, whom it addresses by one of the titles given him by the sacred Scriptures.” We also hear each of these special titles for Our Lord, collectively known as the “O Antiphons”, during the Alleluia verse at Mass: O Wisdom of our God Most High, O Leader of the House of Israel, O Root of Jesse’s stem, O Key of David, O Emmanuel, O King of all nations, O Radiant Dawn. About 150 years ago these titles were combined to form one of your favorite hymns: O Come O Come Emmanuel.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Fr. Christopher J. Pollard
p.s. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13,8). Amen? Amen!