20 December 2012


Extracted from the letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians 4:4-7


I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness.


Let your tolerance (“tolerance” = “reasonableness” in the Bible in Greek) be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.


There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.


Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Luke 3:10-18


When all the people asked John (hereinafter referred to “John the Baptist”), ‘What must we do?’ he answered, ‘If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’


There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master, what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate.’


Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’


A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptize you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals;


he (hereinafter referred to “Jesus Christ”) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fan is in his hand to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’


As well as this, there were many other things he said to exhort the people and to announce the Good News to them.




The following Readings were read in Holy Mass on the 3rd Sunday of Advent (Year C), 16 December 2012:


1st Reading:  Zephaniah 3:14-18 (see previous page);


Responsorial: Isaiah 12 (see above);


2nd Reading: Philippians 4:4-7 (see above) &


Gospel Reading: Luke 3:10-18 (see above).


We have extracted the Homily of Blessed Pope John Paul II on 17 December 2000, based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you:



Sunday, 17 December 2000


1. "Rejoice ... the Lord is at hand" (Philippians 4: 4, 5).


Today, the Third Sunday of Advent, is marked by joy: the joy of those awaiting the One who "is at hand", the God-with-us, foretold by the prophets. It is the "great joy" of Christmas which we have a foretaste of today; a joy which "will be for all people", because the Saviour came and will come again to visit us from on high, like the rising sun (cf. Luke 1: 78).


It is the joy of Christians, pilgrims in the world, who await with hope the glorious return of the One who, to come to our aid, emptied himself of his divine glory. It is the joy of this Holy Year, which commemorates the two millennia since the time when the Son of God, Light from Light, shone upon humanity's history with the radiance of his presence.


In this perspective, the words of the prophet Zephaniah, which we have just heard in the first reading, become particularly eloquent: "Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgements against you, he has cast out your enemies" (Zephaniah 3: 14-15): this is the "year of the Lord's favour", which heals us from sin and its wounds!


2. The prophet's consoling message echoes with great intensity in our assembly: "The Lord your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love" (Zephaniah 3: 17).


It is he who came and it is he whom we await. The Jubilee Year invites us to fix our gaze on him, especially during this Advent of the Year 2000. The Lord, "a warrior who gives victory", is also presented to you today, dear brothers and sisters who in various ways work in the entertainment world. I welcome you in his name and cordially greet you. I express my affectionate gratitude for the kind words addressed to me by Archbishop John Patrick Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and by your two representatives. I extend my greetings to your colleagues and friends who have been unable to attend.


3. Last Sunday, Luke's Gospel presented to us John the Baptist, who proclaimed on the banks of the Jordan the Messiah's imminent coming. Today the liturgy lets us hear the continuation of this Gospel passage: the Baptist explains to the crowds how in practice to prepare the way of the Lord. He tells the various categories of people who ask him: "What then shall we do?" (Luke 3: 10, 12, 14), what must be done to prepare themselves to welcome the Messiah.


This Gospel passage, in a certain sense, reminds us of the Jubilee meetings for the various social or professional categories. It also reminds us of you, dear brothers and sisters: by your Jubilee pilgrimage it is as though you too have come to ask: "What must we do?". The first answer that the word of God gives you is an invitation to rediscover joy. Is not the Jubilee - a term connected with "jubilation" - an exhortation to be full of joy, because the Lord has come to dwell among us and has given us his love?


However, this joy that flows from divine grace is not a superficial or fleeting happiness. It is a deep joy, rooted in the heart, which can imbue the believer's entire life. A joy that can coexist with difficulties, trials, even - however paradoxical this may seem - with pain and death. It is the joy of Christmas and Easter, the gift of the incarnate Son of God, who died and rose again; a joy that no one can take from those who are one with him in faith and works (cf. John 16: 22-23).


Many of you, dear friends, work to entertain the public in creating and producing shows that are meant to offer an opportunity for healthy relaxation and amusement. If Christian joy in its proper sense is found at a more directly spiritual level, nevertheless it also includes the healthy enjoyment that is good for the mind and body. Thus society should be grateful to those who produce and present intelligent and relaxing broadcasts and programmes which are entertaining without being alienating, humorous but not vulgar. Spreading authentic joy can be a genuine form of social charity.

4. The Church, then, like John the Baptist, has a specific message for you today, dear workers in the entertainment world. A message which could be expressed in these words: in your work, always remember the people who are your audience, their rights and their legitimate expectations, especially when it is a question of people who are still in formation. Do not let yourselves be influenced by mere financial or ideological interest. This is the fundamental principle of the ethics of social communications, which each of you is called to apply to his own area of activity. In this regard, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications published a specific document last June: Ethics in Social Communications, on which I invite you to reflect.




Continue next page …


Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Blessed Pope John Paul II, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.




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