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A Simple Life The Third Sunday of Advent 2021

A Simple Life

The Third Sunday of Advent 2021

December 12, 2021

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Zephaniah 3:14-18; Psalm 12; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18


One can hear the sincerity in the hearts of the Israelites when they come to John the Baptist and ask, “We want salvation. We want to be good. What do we need to do?” John’s heart must have been satisfied to see these people of goodwill come to him to seek what God offered them. The Baptist didn’t tell them to practice more devotions or to spend more worship time in the synagogue or even to confess or to atone for their sins, but he did direct them back to a life of simple social justice.


He tells them to live ordinary, unremarkable lives of goodness and integrity in which they are to treat others well. Share what you have if you have excess. Stop trying to get an advantage but do your job well without taking shortcuts here and there. Do not use your influence or authority for selfish gain but treat people fairly and judiciously. Have positive regard for those with whom you interact. In some sense, live a boring life in which your social relationships are characterized by honesty.


Faith is expressed in daily choices that few others see or experience. It is like the Ash Wednesday teachings in which people are to pray in secret so that no one else sees one’s display of good works. The same attitude is needed in our daily lives. We cannot earn salvation, so our best works will not gain us an advantage but living a quiet life in which we know we are earning an honest living and maintaining right relationships will help us realize we are close to God and God is close to us.


When our lives have integrity, we are filled with the same level of expectation that the crowds had when they spoke with John the Baptist. Are you the one? Can salvation be for me? Our simple lives of goodness fill us with this sense of completeness, that we are living the way we know to be right, that we practice kindness to our neighbors and treat them as we want to be treated. A life like this gives us the serenity that allows us to see the mysteries of God’s in-breaking presence in our world, and we are filled with contentment. I know many of you are already there because you are so good.


When we get our lives together and all seems right and we treat ourselves and others as we deserve, a song often arises in our hearts. It is a song of rejoicing, a song of gladness. The Lord is indeed near, and all we can do is to give thanks. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will flood you with lasting peace. 


Scripture for Daily Mass


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 12: The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated to remember the four apparitions to Juan Diego in 1531 near Mexico City shortly after the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs. Mary appeared as a native Mexican princess and her image is imprinted on a cloak that was presented to the bishop. 


December 13: Lucy, martyr (d. 304), was born into a noble Sicilian family and killed during the Diocletian persecution. In the Middle Ages, people with eye trouble invoked her aid because her name means "light." Scandinavia today still honors Lucy in a great festival of light on this day.


December 14: John of the Cross, priest and doctor (1542-1591), was a Carmelite who reformed his order with the help of Teresa of Avila. They created the Discalced (without shoes) Carmelite Order that offered a stricter interpretation of their rules. John was opposed by his community and placed in prison for a year. He wrote the classics, "Ascent of Mount Carmel," "Dark Night of the Soul," and "Living Flame of Love."


Saints are not celebrated during the octave leading up to Christmas.


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.


This Week in Jesuit History


  • December 12, 1661. In the College of Clermont, Paris, Fr. James Caret publicly defended the doctrine of papal infallibility, causing great excitement among the Gallicans and Jansenists. 
  • December 13, 1545. The opening of the Council of Trent to which Frs. Laynez and Salmeron were sent as papal theologians and Fr. Claude LeJay as theologian of Cardinal Otho Truchses. 
  • December 14, 1979. The death of Riccardo Lombardi, founder of the Better World Movement. 
  • December 15, 1631. At Naples, during an earthquake and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the Jesuits worked to help all classes of people. 
  • December 16, 1544. Francis Xavier entered Cochin. 
  • December 17, 1588. At Paris, Fr. Henry Walpole was ordained. 
  • December 18, 1594. At Florence, the apparition of St Ignatius to St Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi.


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