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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Third Sunday of Advent

The Third Sunday of Advent
December 16, 2018
Zephaniah 3:14-18; Isaiah 12; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18

What should we do? The answer is simple: Be kind to one another. John the Baptist tells the people to share cheerfully and give to those in need. Be fair and just to one another, treat each other respectfully, and make decisions that prove your faith has integrity. St. Paul says, “Let your kindness be known to all” because that is proof that you have a good friendship with the Lord. The American novelist, Mark Twain, wrote, “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” It is a gentle power that gets looked down upon as weak, but is a formidable, transformative strength.

         What is the source of John the Baptist’s joy that brings about kindness? He knows the time of the Lord is near and that God will fulfill his promise. John’s joy cannot be contained because he understands God heard the prayers of the people and is bringing about something new. Pope Francis understands this and asks Christians today not to be people of sadness. The incarnation happened. The resurrection happened. A Christian can never be sad or give way to discouragement because ours is a joy born of having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst.

         This is Gaudete Sunday, a day of rejoicing, because our waiting is coming to an end and Christmas is coming near. The child who captivates us and reminds us of all that is good, will be born to us again. Therefore, we light the rose candle of the Advent wreath as we wait in expectation, and we quicken the pace of our prayer for our darkness to be diminished by a flame of light that kindles many other fires. Paul sings, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.”

         We understand that Christmas morning is about being surprised by the kindness of loved ones who give gifts to each other. More than that, we want a peaceful gathering of family when everyone treats each other kindly and lovingly. We want at least glimpses of tender moments when we know we are unconditionally loved, or at least loved despite being less than perfect people. We want to spend meaningful times with those whom we love, and we want at least a small amount of return of affection. We want to treat each other with kindness and politeness simply because we are kind.

         What is the kindest way to treat one another? We learn to be mindful of the other person. We listen deeply, which takes a lot of practice, and we listen compassionately, and we follow it with right speech that nourishes the person by affirming, encouraging, comforting them, and then we try to understand the ways the person suffers. When we listen compassionately, we begin to understand the person more fully, and love is nourished. The foundation of love is understanding, which means that we have to understand the suffering of another. If you really want to love someone and make the person happy, you have to understand the extent of the person’s suffering. With understanding, your love will deepen and become true love. Joy, happiness, is the capacity to understand and to love.

What is our good news? God has listened to us. God understands what we are going through. God chooses to spend time with us and gives of God’s very self just to be with us – because we are lovable, and we suffer. Our day to hope is coming. Rejoice and be glad. Rejoice, because you are good. Rejoice, because God loves you just as you are. Rejoice, because we love you too. Christ will be born in your hearts once again. Our time for happiness approaches.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Zechariah 2) Rejoice, O daughter Zion. I am coming to dwell among you. The Lord will possess Judah and he will again choose Jerusalem.

Tuesday: (Zephaniah 3) On that day, I will change and purify their lips that they may call upon the name of the Lord. You shall not exalt yourself on my holy mountain.

Wednesday: (Isaiah 45) I am the Lord; there is no other; I form the light and create the darkness. Turn to be and be safe all you ends of the earth for I am the Lord, your God.

Thursday: (Isaiah 54) Raise a glad cry, you barren one who did not bear, break forth in jubilant song you who were not in labor.    

Friday (Isaiah 56) Observe what is right; do what is just; for my salvation is about to come; my justice is about to be revealed.

Saturday (Genesis 49) Jacob said: You Judah, shall your brothers praise. The scepter will never depart from you, or the mace from between your legs.  

Monday: (Luke 1) The angel Gabriel was sent to a virgin betrothed to Joseph to announce that the Holy Spirit would overpower her and she would conceive a son. 

Tuesday: (Matthew 21) A man had two sons – one who said no, but did what his father asked; the other who said yes, but did not do what he asked. Which son was better?

Wednesday (Luke 7) The Baptist sent his disciples at ask: Are you the one who is to come? Look around: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the poor hear the good news.

Thursday (Luke 7) Jesus asked: Why did you go out to see the Baptist? He is the greatest of men born to women.   

Friday (John 5) The Baptist was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his lift, but I have greater testimony than John’s.

Saturday (Matthew 1) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus.

Saints of the Week

December 17 - O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge.

December 18 - O Adonai, and leader of the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power.

December 19 - O root of Jesse's stem, sign of God's love for all the people, before you the kings will be silenced, to you the nations will make their prayers: come to save us without delay!

December 20 - O key of David, and scepter of the house of Israel, opening the gates of God's eternal kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness.

December 21 - O radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.

December 21: Peter Canisius, S.J., priest and religious (1521-1597), was sent to Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and Switzerland during the time of the Protestant Reformation to reinvigorate the Catholic faith. He directed many through the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius. He is a doctor of the church for his work in bringing many people back to the faith.

December 22 - O King of all nations, and their desire, and keystone of the church: come and save us, whom you formed from the dust.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Dec 16, 1544. Francis Xavier entered Cochin.
·      Dec 17, 1588. At Paris, Fr. Henry Walpole was ordained.
·      Dec 18, 1594. At Florence, the apparition of St Ignatius to St Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi.
·      Dec 19, 1593. At Rome, Fr. Robert Bellarmine was appointed rector of the Roman College.
·      Dec 20, 1815. A ukase of Alexander I was published banishing the Society of Jesus from St Petersburg and Moscow on the pretext that they were troubling the Russian Church.
·      Dec 21, 1577. In Rome, Fr. Juan de Polanco, secretary to the Society and very dear to Ignatius, died.
·      Dec 22, 1649. At Cork, Fr. David Glawey, a missionary in the Inner and Lower Hebrides, Islay, Oronsay, Colonsay, and Arran, died.

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