December 13, 2015: Third Sunday of Advent
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
The Church’s love for the poor is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, by the poverty of Jesus and by his attention to the poor. This love concerns material poverty and also the numerous forms of cultural and religious poverty. The Church, “since her origin and in spite of the failing of many of her members, has not ceased to work for their relief, defense and liberation through numerous works of charity which remain indispensable always and everywhere”. Prompted by the Gospel injunction, “You have received without paying, give without pay” (Mt 10:8), the Church teaches that one should assist one’s fellow man in his various needs and fills the human community with countless works of corporal and spiritual mercy. “Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God”, even if the practice of charity is not limited to alms-giving but implies addressing the social and political dimensions of the problem of poverty. In her teaching the Church constantly returns to this relationship between charity and justice: “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice”. The Council Fathers strongly recommended that this duty be fulfilled correctly, remembering that “what is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity”. Love for the poor is certainly “incompatible with immoderate love of riches or their selfish use” (cf. Jas 5:1-6). (184) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-18a
Psalm: Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
Second Reading: Philippians 4:4-7
Gospel: Luke 3:10-18
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The People of the “poor” – those who, humble and meek, rely solely on their God’s mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but of the Messiah – are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit’s hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ’s coming. It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit, which is expressed in the Psalms. In these poor, the Spirit is making ready “a people prepared for the Lord.” (716) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Third Sunday of Advent, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: no references this week
Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, reminds us to live today and every day with a spirit of joyful rejoicing. Our faith revolves not just around penance, continually wallowing in our sinfulness, unworthy of God’s mercy, but alive with confidence that Jesus is indeed our mighty Savior. As He has removed the judgment against us, we have no further misfortune to fear God as consumed with wrath, for He rejoices over His children with gladness and continually renews us with His love. His invitation invites us to draw water joyfully at the fountain of salvation.
How do we live rejoicing? The crowds asked John the Baptist the same question and his answer is apropos today. Live simply and share your resources, so others may have the necessities of life. This should continually be a reflection of our faith, our acceptance of grace, how belief transforms our hearts. For living without giving means, life revolves around me and we fail to make known and proclaim the Lord’s deeds. Whatever one’s profession, the message utters a like-minded response, cease taking in excess to fuel income disparity, revile poverty, creates modern day classes of indentured servitude. This spiritual concept transcends tangible goods to wrench at human dignity, as false accusations and dominance by extortion rob the human person of God-given ennoblement. Living faith with these perspectives challenges us to live with prophetic voice and action. Baptized with water and fire of the Holy Spirit, we are exhorted in many ways to live the Good News, not preaching in hollow words, drenched with judgment, for we have experienced our Savior’s love and trust in His eternal promise. We shed anxiety, prayerfully offering thanksgiving and openly make known to God our challenges. Living our faith in this manner, we abound in God-given peace that surpasses the façade of worldly materialism and superiority. Jesus’ modeling of a true servant rooted in love and our journey on that path guards our hearts and minds from veering off down a dead-end road.
Individual Reflection: Zephaniah 3:14-18a
Give copies of Pope Francis’ encyclical Joy of the Gospel for Christmas gifts.
Family Reflection: Luke 3:10-18
Discuss what justice issues in your community contribute to people lacking the basic necessities of life. How might your family be a voice to address these issues?
Prayer: Advent Blessing from Roman Missal
May the almighty and merciful God, by whose grace you have placed your faith in the First Coming of his Only Begotten Son and yearn for his coming again, sanctify you by the radiance of Christ’s Advent and enrich you with his blessing.
As you run the race of this present life, may he make you firm in faith, joyful in hope and active in charity.
So that, rejoicing now with devotion at the Redeemer’s coming in the flesh, you may be endowed with the rich reward of eternal life when he comes again in majesty.
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born, November 27, 2015The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.