Leave the vinegar at home this Sunday

Leave the vinegar at home this Sunday

Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year B

Leave it to Pope Francis to give us an authoritative papal document with the colorful word “sourpuss” in its official English translation. He wrote the original text of Evangelii Gaudium (“Joy of the Gospel”) in Spanish, which used the phrase cara de vinagre, or “vinegar face.” And since most official Church documents are issued in Latin, our archives will finally have vultus trux, or “grim face,” in its index.

Whatever the language, the pope clearly knew of a common sin among us parish ministers—that of “defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, ‘sourpusses’” (Joy of the Gospel, #85). How often have we thought, “if only Father would change,” or “there they go again singing that song I hate”? Perhaps you’ve been tempted to shoot off that e-mail or online comment to give someone a good fraternal correcting. I know I have! Soon enough, our bitter thoughts and actions seep into our faces and marinate our words with a caustic bite, and all people see when they watch us at Mass are a bunch of sour and dour faces.

On this “Gaudete Sunday” when Saint Paul reminds us to “rejoice always,” let’s indulge in a bit more sweetness with one another and leave the vinegar aside.


This post was first published on the planner page for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year B, in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal,” Vol 28, No 4.

Image credit: Andreas Levers, flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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