Third Sunday of Advent - 17th December 2017
Today is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday. Over the first millennium of Christianity Advent was like a late Lent. Both were five weeks long, both were marked by fasting and penance and both gave the faithful a day off half way through. In Lent Laudete Sunday is still, roughly, half way through the five-week season. Advent, however, was shortened to four weeks in the tenth century, and Pope St Gregory the Great eased the fasting and penitential aspects of this season in the twelfth century, but the not-so-half-way Gaudete Sunday has remained. It is, literally, the ‘rejoicing’ Sunday when we look more directly at Jesus’ coming at Christmas.