Thoughts on the Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Advent (C) 2017

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and past it into your browser.  https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/121116.cfm 

This Sunday we celebrate the third Sunday of the season of Advent.  This Sunday is sometimes referred to as Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, because our time of waiting and preparation is nearing its end.   On this Sunday the priest wears Rose colored vestments and the pink candle on the Advent wreath is lit.  Together they  set a tone of joyful expectation as we await the Lord’s birth and anticipate his second coming.    

In our Gospel this Sunday we find John the Baptist in prison.  He knows (or at least suspects) that he doesn’t have much longer to live.   And so we are told that “he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’”   Interestingly, Jesus does not respond with a yes or no to John’s question.   Instead Jesus tells John’s disciples:  “Go and tell John what you hear and see; the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”   Most probably John’s disciples would have recognized these words as coming from the book of the prophet Isaiah. These words are part of our first reading this Sunday.   They envision a time of new life and hope when the Messiah will come.  

As noted above, our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.   In the section we read today Isaiah offers a hopeful vision that, at some point in the future, God will deliver God’s people from captivity and oppression, and they will know vindication, healing and new life.   

Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the Letter of Saint James.  While it reflects the idea prevalent in the early church that the return of the Lord was imminent, it does provide some practical advice. “Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1.  What gives you cause to rejoice on this Sunday?   
  2.  While we believe that at some point in the future Christ will come again, it is also our firm and abiding belief that he is present with us now.  What signs of Christ’s presence and grace do you see in the world around you?  
  3.  How do we be patient as we wait for the coming of the Lord?   
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