December 14, 2014
Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)
Is 61: 1-2a, 10-11 / Lk 1: 46-48, 49-50, 53-54 / 1 Thes 5: 16-24/ Jn 1: 6-8, 19-28
First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is upon me, because Yahweh has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up broken hearts, to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those languishing in prison; to announce the year of Yahweh's favor and the day of vengeance of our God; to give comfort to those who grieve. I rejoice greatly in Yahweh, my soul exults for joy in my God, for he has clothed me in the garments of his salvation, he has covered me with the robe of his righteousness, like the bridegroom wearing a garland, like a bride adorned with jewels. For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord Yahweh make justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Brothers and sisters: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks to God at every moment. This is the will of God, your vocation as Christians. Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise the prophets' warnings. Put everything to the test and hold fast to what is good. Avoid evil, whatever it may be. May the God of Peace make you holy and bring you to perfection. May you be completely blameless, in spirit, soul and body, till the coming of Christ Jesus, our Lord; he who called you is faithful and will do it.
Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28
A man came, sent by God; his name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light but a witness to introduce the Light. Levites to ask him, "Who are you?" John recognized the truth and did not deny it. He said, "I am not the Messiah." And they asked him, "Then who are you? Elijah?" He answered, "I am not." They said, "Are you the Prophet?" And he answered, "No." Then they said to him, "Tell us who you are, so that we can give some answer to those who sent us. How do you see yourself?" And John said, quoting the prophet Isaiah, "I am the voice crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord." Those who had been sent were Pharisees; so they put a further question to John: "Then why are you baptizing if you are not the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet?" John answered, "I baptize you with water, but among you stands one whom you do not know; although he comes after me, I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal. This happened in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Today is the third Sunday of Advent known as Gaudete Sunday. The Introit or introductory hymn from Paul's letter to the Philippians reads: "Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Dominus enim prope est. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed the Lord is near."
The season of Advent is a period of waiting and expectation for the Lord, a period to prepare for the anniversary of his birth and first coming. During this season, the Church urges us to be ready always for his second coming at the end of time and to do so with joy, with joyful hope and expectation for the Lord.
The first reading from Isaiah summarizes the role and mission of the Messiah: "to bring good news to the poor." Early in his public ministry Jesus will affirm this mission. After reading these lines from the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue at his hometown Nazareth, Jesus solemnly tells his townmates, "Today these prophetic words come true even as you listen."
When John the Baptist sent messengers to Jesus to inquire, "Are you the one we are to expect, or should we wait for another?" Jesus replied: "Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again the lame walk, lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the poor are given the good news."
John's role and ministry as given in the Gospel reading is to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. "I am the voice crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord."
John preached a baptism to represent repentance, forgiveness of sins and change and renewal of ways and of life. He had messages for all, the Pharisees and the leaders of the Jews, soldiers, tax collectors and the common people: "Make straight the way of the Lord." John preached "to introduce the Light so that all might believe through him."
The Prologue of John's Gospel goes "the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone. He was already in the world and through him the world was made, the very world that did not know him. He came into his own, yet his own people did not receive him; but to all who have received him he empowers to become children of God for they believe in his Name."
John's message of repentance, forgiveness of sins and change and renewal of our life and ways is still relevant for us today. His message to tax collectors and soldiers to be fair and not abusive, to all to be kind to others is still valid today, as we prepare for the coming of the Lord, we "rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks to God at every moment," as we "put everything to the test and hold fast to what is good," as we "avoid evil, whatever it may be . . . till the coming of Christ Jesus, our Lord."
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
… for families who are in need of healing
… for world peace and reconciliation
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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