Give joy and thanksgiving this Advent Print E-mail
Sunday scripture column

Jem Sullivan

Sunday, Dec. 16

Third Sunday of Advent

Zep 3:14-18
Is 12:2-6
Phil 4:4-7
Lk 3:10-18

For a Christian, thanksgiving is not just an annual holiday but a daily attitude of life. For God became one of us, in humble self-emptying, to reconcile each one of us to God’s love and mercy. For this act of undeserved and unmerited divine love, we never exhaust the depths of our gratitude to God.

On the third Sunday of Advent, traditionally known an “Gaudete Sunday,” the readings of Scripture invite us to recapture that deep Christian spirit of gratitude expressed in deeds of justice and charity.

As we give thanks to God, we discover the deep hope of Advent in God’s renewed coming into our families, homes, and lives.

One of the first phrases parents teach a child to say is, “thank you.” And public expressions of gratitude are often on display during award ceremonies when people receiving awards deliver short or long acceptance speeches.

Overjoyed winners often list, with gratitude, those in their professional and personal lives who made it possible for them to achieve success and fame. Many are quick to admit that they could not thank everyone who is truly deserving of their gratitude.

When it comes to expressing our gratitude to God, there are never-ending opportunities to lift our hearts and minds to God. There is no limit to what we can thank God for since all of creation comes from His loving hand. Everywhere we look, we discover some sign of God’s generous care.

Perhaps this is why St. Paul urges the Philippians with such confidence by saying, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: Rejoice!”

It’s not too late to begin the spiritual preparations of Advent. Give God thanks for the small and large gifts of daily life as a way to get back on the spiritual track of Advent.

Jem Sullivan is secretary for Catholic education of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.


Pope's December Prayer Intention Print E-mail
In 2018, the Pope will present one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than two.
Pope's December Prayer Intention

Evangelization: In the Service of the Transmission of Faith
That people, who are involved in the service and transmission of faith, may find, in their
dialogue with culture, a language suited to the conditions of the present time.

Daily Scripture Readings Print E-mail
Sunday, Sep. 01, 2013 -- 10:21 AM
Click here to view or subscribe to the daily
Scripture readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
Holy Days of Obligation Print E-mail

The following are Holy Days of Obligation for 2018.

Holy Days of Obligation Description
Monday, Jan. 1
Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Sunday, May 13
Ascension Thursday
Wednesday, Aug. 15
Solemnity of the Assumption
Thursday, Nov. 1
All Saints Day
Saturday, Dec. 8
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Tuesday, Dec. 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Prayer to St. Raphael Print E-mail

photo of Pilgrim Icon of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.

We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.


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