Thoughts on the Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Advent (B) 2018

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 

This coming weekend we celebrate the third Sunday of the Season of Advent.   For those old enough to remember, this Sunday was known as Gaudete  (Rejoice!) Sunday, because our time of waiting would soon come to an end 

On this Third Sunday of Advent our Gospel reading is from the Gospel of John and, like last week,  we once again encounter John the Baptist.   In this week’s Gospel, some priests and Levites ask John who is he.  John is clear that he is not the Christ, that he is not Elijah, that he is not a prophet, but rather a “voice crying out in the dessert: Make straight the way of the Lord.”  

I have a friend who likes to say that John’s response is an example of the “grace of place.”   John knew who he was and what he was about.  He didn’t have an inflated sense of himself, nor did he display any false humility.  John knew what he was called to be and to do, and he found God’s grace in this.  

Our first reading this weekend is from the book of the prophet Isaiah.  It shares a similar theme with the Gospel in regard to knowing one’s mission.   At the time it was written, the Jewish people were still in exile in Babylon and the prophet, Isaiah spoke to them about his mission.  He had been anointed and sent “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor by our God.”   In essence he was called to tell them that their time of captivity would eventually come to an end and that the Lord God would make “justice and peace spring up before all the nations.”  

Our second reading for this weekend is taken from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.   In it Paul reminds that early Christian community --- and us --- to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing and to give thanks” so as to be “blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. Can you recall a time when you “knew” you were called to do or say something?   Do you remembering experiencing God’s grace at this time?  
  2. In what ways have you prepared the way of the Lord this Advent?   Who or what has prepared the way the way of the Lord for you this Advent.  
  3. How are you called to rejoice this Advent?    

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