3rd Sunday of Advent (c)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Sunday 15th December: 3rd Sunday of Advent (a)
In the first reading, Isaiah uses the image of the desert, made fertile by rain, to communicate the hope that God would restore his people, crushed by their misfortunes. One day God will be seen on earth and bring salvation to his people.
The second reading, from St. James, urges us to live in peace with each other so that we will ready to meet the Lord when he comes again.
In the Gospel passage from St. Matthew, we read how Jesus fulfils the prophecy of Isaiah, strengthens John’s faith and reminds us of the Kingdom of heaven, our final home, hopefully.
Monday 16th December: Advent Weekday
The first reading comes from the Book of Numbers. It speaks of a great leader who is to come to the house of Israel. This is what the people of Israel must hope for.
The Gospel passage still presents us with John the Baptist and his task of preparing the people to welcome the Messiah. Jesus condemns the authorities for their unwillingness to listen to what he says and to watch what he is doing.
Tuesday 17th December: Advent Weekday by date
These are special days now when the thought of the expected Messiah grows in intensity. The kingship will never pass from the house of Jacob into which Jesus will be born. Each of these last days of Advent has a special short prayer or antiphon appealing to the Lord to come. These are known as the ‘O’ antiphons.
This week we also try to understand how Our Lady felt as she looked forward to the birth of her son. The people of Israel were very conscious of their family tree, their genealogy. Today we have the genealogy for Jesus, traced through Joseph back via David to Abraham, the father of the chosen people.
Wednesday 18th December: Weekday of Advent by date.
When the kings of God’s people had not fulfilled their mission of guiding the people to God, the prophet Jeremiah announces that God himself will become the shepherd of his people. The promise of the Messiah is made.
In the Gospel, we are given the fulfilment of the promise – Joseph is told of the conception of Our Lady’s child who is to be called Jesus. Think of Joseph’s faith!
The promise and the birth of Samson are narrated. He will be consecrated to God and from God he will receive great strength that he will use to protect God’s people.
Thursday19th December: Weekday of Advent by date.
The birth of John the Baptist is announced by the angel Gabriel in today’s Gospel. Like Samson, he will be consecrated to God. He will lead many back to the true worship of the God of Israel. Zechariah couldn’t fully accept what was being said to him and loses his power of speech until John is born.
Friday 20th December: Weekday of Advent by date.
The two texts for today complement each other – the promise made and the promise fulfilled. The child to be born of a young maiden as a sign of Israel’s salvation, speak directly of a son to be born to the king. In later tradition, this text came to be understood as a messianic prophecy which was fulfilled in Mary and in the child born to her.
Saturday 21st December: Weekday of Advent by date.
The first reading (from the prophet Zephaniah) describes the joy of Jerusalem because God stays with his people.
The Gospel passage presents us with the account of the Visitation. Mary greets Elizabeth, her cousin, who is also pregnant.
Shoot of Jesse,
Who stands as an ensign for the people,
Before whom kings shall shut their mouths,
Whom the gentiles shall seek after,
Come to deliver us.
Delay now no longer.
Key of David
and sceptre of the house of Israel.
You open a door that no man can shut.
You close a door that no man can open.
and bring bound out of the dungeon him
Who is sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.
O Rising Sun,
You are the splendour of eternal light
And the sun of justice.
And enlighten those who sit
In darkness and the shadow of death.