December 15, 2019: Third Sunday of Advent
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Read Pope Francis’ thoughts on Gaudet Sunday: Joy, Prayer and Thanksgiving to give humanity dignity and freedom
First Reading: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
Psalm: 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
Second Reading: James 5:7-10
Catechism of the Catholic Church
St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. “Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom. (523) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the, Third Sunday of Advent Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Human misery is a clear sign of man’s natural condition of frailty and of his need for salvation. Christ the Saviour showed compassion in this regard, identifying himself with the “least” among men (cf. Mt 25:40,45). “It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones. When ‘the poor have the good news preached to them’ (Mt 11:5), it is a sign of Christ’s presence”.
Jesus says: “You always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me” (Mt 26:11; cf. Mk 14:7; Jn 12:8). He makes this statement not to contrast the attention due to him with service of the poor. Christian realism, while appreciating on the one hand the praiseworthy efforts being made to defeat poverty, is cautious on the other hand regarding ideological positions and Messianistic beliefs that sustain the illusion that it is possible to eliminate the problem of poverty completely from this world. This will happen only upon Christ’s return, when he will be with us once more, for ever. In the meantime, the poor remain entrusted to us and it is this responsibility upon which we shall be judged at the end of time (cf. Mt 25:31-46): “Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren”. (183)
Jesus did not reply to the question posed by the disciples of John the Baptist, if they should turn to Jesus or look for another messiah, by quoting theology, stating his credentials or mandating they bow to Him. He told them to tell John of what they heard and saw. The transformation of physical and spiritual healing. Those physically and spiritually blind seeing the light. The lame in body and spirit walking in the truth. Lepers afflicted and searching cleansed in flesh and soul. Deafness to sound and the Word opened to not struggle to understand anymore. Dead in the tomb and dead to life raised to a newness of life. The poor hearing the goodness proclaimed of their eternal riches. For the Messiah brought transformative change void of earthly titles, so there was no question of people needing to look any further. A prophetic witness modeled by John the Baptist, the last and greatest prophet, who came not in royal dress, living in a palace, but a prophetic voice among the people.
As Advent reaches the mid-point, we must continue patiently waiting for the celebration of the coming of the Messiah. Not a time for revelry, getting lost pursuing the dazzle, but ponder in firm resolve to see the Messiah at work in our world today. Just as He works to transform our heart, He asks us to continue His transformative work, by securing justice for the oppressed, giving food to the hungry, helping set captives free, sustaining the fatherless and widows. Allowing His words reach the least in society through the hands and hearts of those steeped in His mercy. For the Lord comes to save us from ourselves, as we serve others. An experience of rejoicing to see those defined as weak by society gain voice and trust to fear not ever again.
Individual Reflection: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
Plan to cook some Advent and Christmas season recipes:
Family Reflection: Matthew 11:2-11
The Third Sunday of Advent is know as Gaudete Sunday. A time to rejoice and celebrate with joy. How can the joy in your family secure justice for the oppressed, give food to the hungry, set captives free and sustain the fatherless and widows?
Prayer: Sing some joyful music in the spirit of Advent’s message of Jesus’ coming:
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.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born December 1, 2019 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.