From Bondings 2.0:
Pope Francis writes that, after we perform a recollected reading of the text, we ask ourselves some questions about the Scripture passage. What does this text say to me? What about my life needs to change? What do I find pleasant or attractive in this text for my life? Francis says that we need to avoid the temptation to apply the passage to other people. Now, this hits home! During the Scripture readings at Sunday worship service, I sometimes find myself thinking, “I hope so-and-so heard that!”
With Francis’ advice at hand, I read and reread the Scripture texts for the Third Sunday of Advent to figure out what God was saying to me. Isaiah speaks of a joyful time when all will be made right and good: feeble hands and weak knees will be strengthened, blind eyes will be opened, and deaf ears will hear. But until this time arrives, the epistle of James cautions us to be patient, just as the farmer waits for the rains to water the precious fruit of the earth. We are not to complain about one another, but look to the prophets as examples of the patience God asks of us.
The Gospel reading gives us an example in the prophet, John the Baptist. John preached a stirring message of repentance for sin and baptism with water to cleanse the body and soul, but John waited patiently for a Messianic figure, who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. From his prison cell, John sends his disciples to ask Jesus if his waiting time is over. “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” John is an example of patience.
The theme of today’s Mass is proclaimed from the first word of the entrance antiphon, and repeated insistently throughout, “Rejoice” – or in Latin, “Gaudete”, from which today, the Third Sunday of Advent takes its name, “Gaudete” Sunday.
The entrance antiphon opens,
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.
(Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete).
Advent is a solemn time of anticipation, preparing for the festive celebration of the Nativity. Christmas though, is much more than just the infant Jesus that is the focus of so many family Christmases: it is much more a celebration of the incarnation of Christ, a constant making real His presence in the world. That presence is marked by a pronounced emphasis on love, justice, and inclusion of all – including sexual minorities as well as all manner of marginalized people of His day.
In our world, that same openness and inclusion for all does not exist, not in the secular sphere, and not in the Church. If we are truly to participate in preparing for the incarnation, to contribute to building God’s Kingdom on earth, it is appropriate for this season of advent that we should reflect on the ways in which we personally can participate in preparing for this inclusion in Church.
Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic ministries to LGBT Catholics, has released an Advent statement with some suggestions, specifically geared to ending the oppression of queer youth:
Equally Blessed Advent 2010 Statement
This Advent season, join the progressive Catholic movement in wearing a rainbow ribbon to church as a public symbol of justice and solidarity with our LGBT youth in this time of increased awareness about youth suicides.
Do you feel called to do more for our youth? Here are some other ways you can make a difference:
- Pledge to have a conversation about LGBT justice issues with a family member, colleague, neighbor, member of your parish or faith community, or with a public official
- Volunteer for an LGBT organization, maybe one that works with LGBT or questioning youth.
- Help create a safe space or anti-bullying policy to support LGBT youth in your local school or faith community.
- If you know a Knight of Columbus, ask them if they know how their money is being spent on anti-gay campaigns.
- Help pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act
- Adopt a bishop this season and make a contribution in his name to an LGBT rights organization and then send a letter to the bishop letting him know of your gift
Check local fabric/ribbon stores or the internet for the rainbow ribbon. The preferred width size is 7/8″. One place that sells rainbow is Artistic Ribbon. Minimum orders may apply. There are several places on the web to purchase safety pins (size: #1 in either brass or silver).
We have included a PDF version of the statement for reproducing and distribution.
If you find other sources, etc., email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Equally Blessed is a coalition of faithful Catholics who support fully equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both in the church and in civil society. Equally Blessed includes four organizations that have spent a combined 112 years working on behalf of LGBT people and their families: Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families and New Ways Ministry.
- “Equally Blessed”: Statement on US Bishops’ Elections. (Queering the Church)
- Queer Catholics Are Equally Blessed: Press Release (Queering the Church)
- For a Queer Christmas – Send Gay / Lesbian Cards. (Queering the Church)
- Give Thanks For This Kairos Moment of LGBT Inclusion (Queering Theology and Ministry)
- “Speaking the Truth” on Catholic LGBT Inclusion (Queering the Church)
- Advent: A Closet Fertilized by Hope (Jesus in Love Blog)