the Lord always. Again I say rejoice!”
The Mass in Latin and English
Third Sunday of Advent
Dominica Tertia Adventus
Ember Days in Advent
The Church has us celebrate two
penitential seasons each year—Lent, as a preparation for Easter, and Advent
(the season we are in right now) as preparation for Christmas. In each of
these seasons the Mass vestments are purple, but about two thirds of the way
through each season one Sunday is celebrated in rose colored vestments, as a
sign of subdued rejoicing within the penitential season. These Sundays are
known as Gaudéte Sunday and Laetáre Sunday, from the Latin
words which begin the entrance hymn—both words are translated as "rejoice."
It is particularly appropriate that
we mark this Sunday of rejoicing with the Baptism of four new Catholics.
Baptism, as you know, confers a “character” on the soul, marking the child
forever as a Christian, a member of God's holy Church. And Baptism, as
well, fills the soul with the sanctifying grace that was lost in the fall of
Adam and Eve. In their baptismal innocence, these children are human beings
as God intended them to be—much like Adam and Eve at the moment of their
creation—and, if I dare to say it, much like the Blessed Virgin Mary in her
Immaculate Conception. So today is truly a day for rejoicing.
In holy Baptism, the Catholic Faith
is handed down to the next generation. This too is reason for
rejoicing—particularly in the modern world where faith is often lacking in
civil society and even in the Church. All around us we see the
glorification of evil and ugliness—a paternalistic society that urges us on
to irresponsibility and self-gratification lost in mindless entertainment.
In possession of the Faith, these children are the world's hope for sanity
It remains for us—as individual
families, and as the union of families in our parish—to nurture that Faith,
and to protect the innocence of these children. As parents it is your
privilege and responsibility to teach them the essentials of the Faith. You
can begin with something as simple as teaching them how to pray—not just the
words (the Our Father and the Hail Mary, of course)—but also the reality
that prayer is direct communication with God and His saints. As they get
older, your teaching can become more intellectual—they can learn about God
and the eternal happiness granted them for knowing, loving, and serving Him
in this world—they can learn the Commandments, the things that they must or
may not do, both to please God and to live a happy life for themselves.
Your church will be there to help you with your teaching. Hopefully you
will inspire a live long thirst for knowledge of God and His creatures.
It is said that good example is the
most powerful method of teaching. If your children see piety, faithfulness,
honesty, industry, scholarship, and peacefulness in you, they are very
likely to grow up to become pious, faithful, honest, industrious, studious,
and peaceful adults. Take them to holy Mass as often as possible (take
them, do not send them). See to it that they receive the Sacraments—Holy
Communion and Confirmation—as they become of appropriate age.
So congratulations to parents,
Godparents, and children on the reception of holy Baptism. May this always
be a day of rejoicing for you. "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say