FIRST READING       
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.”
A reading from the Book of Isaiah  (Isaiah 61:1-2a.10-11)

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD Will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  Luke 1:46-48.49-50.53-54 (R. Is 61: 10b)
R. My soul shall exult in my God.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. R.

For he who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation. R.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy. R.

SECOND READING          
“May your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless.”
A reading from the first Letter of saint Paul to the Thessalonians (1Thessalonians 5:16-24)

Brethren: Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, but test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil. May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA   Cf. Luke4:18
Alleluia.
 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has sent me to preach good news to the poor. Alleluia

GOSPEL               
“Among you stands one whom you do not know.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 1:6-8.19-28)

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.”   They said to him then, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Then why are you baptising, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptise with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptising.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflections 

Today is traditionally called “Gaudete Sunday”, a special day in which we are reminded that Christianity brings joy to all things. With less than two weeks to the proper celebration of Christmas, this reminder is important to keep our minds focused on the real things that matters in this season and the real attitude we ought to embrace. Christianity is a vocation of Joy. Hence, St. Paul, in the Second Reading, encourages the people to rejoice always. But he added other responsibilities which could be summarized as doing good and shunning evil. In doing that, we will see that we will be spreading the joy of Christ’s coming to the ends of the earth! May the joy of the Lord follow you all the days of your life as you make your effort to follow Jesus faithfully by doing good and shunning evil. Amen

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