RITUAL FOR THE LIGHTING
Rose Shepherd’s Candle
The first and second candles on the wreath are lit before the prayer begins.
Leader: On this Third Sunday of Advent, we light the rose coloured candle, the candle of rejoicing, on our Advent Wreath. Let us pray that god will fill us with joy at the coming of Christ.
Pause for a few seconds.
Leader: In the words of the acclamations, we pray:
Come, Lord Jesus. How we need you to bring Good News to our world once again.
All. For you are our hope.
Leader: Come, Lord Jesus. How we need you to bind anew the hearts of all who are broken and afraid.
All. For you are our peace.
Leader: Come, Lord Jesus. How we need you to proclaim a year of favour for all of the people of the earth.
All. For you are our Saviour.
The third candle is lit as the refrain is said by the family…..
Christ be our light shine in our hearts shine through the darkness, Christ be our light shine in your church gathered today.
Leader: Let us pray together………
God of eternal joy,
you are ever faithful to your promises
and ever close to your Church:
the earth rejoices in hope of the Saviour’s coming
and looks forward with longing
to his return at the end of time.
prepare our hearts and remove any sadness
that hinders us from feeling the joy
which his coming will bring
for he is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.
WATCH! PREPARE A WAY FOR THE LORD!
Welcome to the 3rd Sunday of Advent . The word “Advent” means “coming” and starts with a message similar to the theme of last week’s Mass. Be ready and watch for the coming of Jesus. However, it means a little more than just coming; it conveys to us an expectancy within the person waiting. This can be understood in three ways.
First, we anticipate Christ’s advent on Christmas. We go beyond the materialism of the modern world by a focus on the real meaning of the feast: God enters human existence in a totally personal way.
Second, we look forward to Jesus’ arrival in our lives through the blossoming of our faith and the insight we have as pure ‘gift’ to see God’s saving work at hand in Christ within His Word, Sacrament and Community. Thus in a mystical way we bring his body into the world through our union with him also in the communion of saints.
Finally, we speculate on the end of this universe at the conclusion of time. The universe is not self-sustaining. Eventually it will terminate in some sort of extinction. Time is finite. It will reach a culmination either in a vast cataclysm or total dissolution. Then the real universe will begin in God.
So, welcome to Year B! During Advent and Lent, the three Readings in the Liturgy of the Word are linked….see if you can see and hear the links!
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.
It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in our being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link.
First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-2. 10-11
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor,
to bind up hearts that are broken;
to proclaim liberty to captives,
freedom to those in prison;
to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.
‘I exult for joy in the Lord,
my soul rejoices in my God,
for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation,
he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity,
like a bridegroom wearing his wreath,
like a bride adorned in her jewels.
‘For as the earth makes fresh things grow,
as a garden makes seeds spring up,
so will the Lord make both integrity and praise
spring up in the sight of the nations.’
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon the first reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word.)
Psalm: Luke 1:46-50. 53-54
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her nothingness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed. R.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear him. R.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy. R.
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God, because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.
Never try to suppress the Spirit or treat the gift of prophecy with contempt; think before you do anything – hold on to what is good and avoid every form of evil.
May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has called you and he will not fail you.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
PAUSE again after this Reading and reflect like you did after the first Reading. The Community response is the sung ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday! We never say it… 🙂
Gospel: John 1:6-8. 19-28
A man came, sent by God. His name was John. He came as a witness, as a witness to speak for the light, so that everyone might believe through him. He was not the light, only a witness to speak for the light.
This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ.’ ‘Well then,’ they asked ‘are you Elijah?’ ‘I am not’ he said. ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?’ So John said,
‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied: a voice that cries in the wilderness: Make a straight way for the Lord.’
Now these men had been sent by the Pharisees, and they put this further question to him, ‘Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ, and not Elijah, and not the prophet?’ John replied, ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you unknown to you the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.’ This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, where John was baptising.
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflection time again……. see if you can hear the links, and see the bridges between the three Readings. After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..
DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES
Focusing the Word
Key words and phrases
John came as a witness to speak for the light.
A voice crying in the wilderness.
There stands among you unknown to you the one who is coming after me.
He brings good news to the poor, binds up hearts that are broken; proclaims liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison.
My soul rejoices in my God.
To the point
John’s mission was to testify to the light – Christ’s presence among them. The light of Christ’s presence shines ‘to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken.’ (first reading). When we witness these works we recognise Christ’s presence among us. When we do these works we make Christ present among us.
Connecting the Word
The first two Sundays of Advent primarily focus on the second coming of Christ. On this third Sunday of Advent the focus is clearly on Christ already among us. Do we recognise him? Do we make him present? What is the Good news we bring to others? What broken hearts have we bound up?
There is a tendency today to separate the religious and social spheres. We identify religious works as simply works of piety. Both Isaiah and the entire life and mission of Jesus reveal that social concern is the work of God.
Understanding the Word
John the Baptist in John’s gospel
All four gospels discuss John the Baptist (see also Acts 13:24-25; 19:1-7). All four gospels agree that John’s mission is to prepare the way for Jesus. Matthew, Mark, and Luke also agree that John baptised Jesus. In the Gospel of John, however, there is no report that John baptised Jesus, though Jesus was in John’s company (3:26) and John witnessed the Holy Spirit come down upon Jesus (1:33). John the Evangelist seems to keep John’s role clearly subordinate to that of Jesus.
This subordinate role for John the Baptist is the main concern of this Sunday’s gospel. The evangelist emphasises this subordination in a number of ways. First, he describes John’s role in terms of testimony and testifying. This is legal language which, in a courtroom, is given on behalf of another. A witness must have personal experience and cannot merely report hearsay. Because John is ‘sent from God,’ his testimony is trustworthy: to reject his testimony is to reject the One who sent him. As one sent from God, John is the last in a series of Old Testament prophets whom God has sent in advance of the Messiah, bringing Old Testament prophecy to completion by pointing to Jesus. In gospel terms John is not the light but merely testifies to the light who is, of course, Jesus (8:12; 9:5). Though John’s role is subordinate to Jesus, he is nevertheless in illustrious company, for elsewhere in the gospel those who testify to Jesus include his Father (5:37; 8:18), the Spirit/Advocate (15:26-27), and the Scriptures (5:39).
To clarify his role John the Baptist himself makes three denials: he is not the Christ (= Messiah), nor Elijah, nor the Prophet. These last two were expected to come in the last days. In a final act of self-abnegation, John declares that he is even unworthy to be a servant to Jesus. John’s testimony is timeless: everything and everyone is subordinate to and ought to lead to Christ. Like the Baptist, we – the Church – should not promote ourselves but in all things point to Christ.
A realhomilie from Fr.Kev
Dear One and All,
In the Readings of this Sunday, there is a distinct theme of ‘Rejoicing’ that the Promised One, the Messiah will come to God’s people. In fact when we really ‘listen’ to the Word in Isaiah, God is ecstatic with Joy and happiness that you can feel God tremble as He speaks! It is as though when all seems lost for God’s Faithful, a new and extraordinary deed is being done! All the hope and faithfulness of the Anawim….’the Poor of the Lord God, will pay off in a huge and unimaginable way……but, it will be done in God’s way, panoramic way! Not in and through the tunnel vision of humanity’s way. This is the message which is evergreen for all the ages; it is one of the central themes of The Lord’s Prayer…..’Bringing Heaven to Earth where God’s will shall be done’.
Let’s go back to the Prophet Isaiah as he and the ‘like-minded’ community spelt out the signs that would distinguish the Messiah. ‘When he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unlock the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will shout and sing’. (Isaiah 35:5-6) He will set prisoners free, bring Good News to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken. A time of rejoicing will begin! However, the Promised One will be a servant, a prince of peace, and one who embodies true humility and is great in the eyes of God. He will not issue in a politically motivated uprising against the foreign domination which was the hope of many……no way! The kingdom is very near to us, it can be in us and it can be so contagious that people are drawn to it like iron filings to a magnet.
Well, let us briefly look at the people whom the world calls great. Many of them may be great, by any standards, but some may appear to have feet of clay, when compared to the standards of greatness proposed by Jesus and the excitement in Isaiah’s words. It takes true greatness to be able to forgive, to admit that I am wrong, to turn to another and ask for help. It takes true greatness to minister with great love those who, because of mental disability, or pride, are unable to say ‘thanks’. These angels of charity are the greatest people on earth. A great person in the eyes of God is a foot washer! Having the trust to bend down on one’s knees and metaphorically wash, and be immersed in what is…..not what can be; the dirt, the grime, the distaste, the smell, the selflessness, the humility, the poverty of spirit……following the example of Mary, Mother of the Church…..”Let it be done unto me according to your Word.” “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do……..” These are the hard yards that are the true marks of a ‘great’ person! What a challenge! O Lord, help us!
If you were to write your own obituary notice, what are the things in your life that could deserve the term great, in that their value is eternal, and will continue long after your departure from this earth? Look again at the little people in your life, those who carry out the day-to-day humdrum services that keep life going all around you. Can you find any greatness among them? Begin with those closest to you, the ones you are more inclined to take for granted. It was Jesus who said that the prophet is never accepted in his own home. Jesus was grateful for what John the Baptist had done in preparing the way; he even said it while John was alive. I often wonder when I listen to Eulogies at Funerals, if the deceased person had ever heard in their lifetime the wonderful things that are said at their Requiem Mass, or the Cemetery Chapel, or the Graveside.
Let us never put off speaking words of thanksgiving, praise or contrition to someone till tomorrow, because that tomorrow may never come! Such is some of the challenge of Advent….”Let us pray that nothing may hinder us from receiving Christ with Joy……”
God Bless you and your families and may we never forget each other in prayer. Fr.Kev
OUR FAMILY PRAYER TIME………
This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. You might like to create your own Advent Wreath…very simple, for ideas please check out the Posting November 21. Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. Someone in the family might like to be the leader, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…
Leader: Comforted by the promise that you care for us as a shepherd cares for his flock, we bring these needs to you with great trust.
- 1. For all those in leadership positions in our Church, in Rome, in our diocese, and in our parish, that they may be guided by the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we pray to the Lord: Come, Lord Jesus!
- 2. For all who work in various governmental offices at every level, that they be true servants of the people who need their expertise and help in their daily lives, we pray to the Lord: Come, Lord Jesus!
- For all those who need consolation in their lives, because of the loss of a loved one or financial insecurity or fragile physical or emotional health, we pray to the Lord: Come, Lord Jesus!
- For all the homebound and hospitalised of our parish and for all those who care for them, that they may know joy in their lives, we pray to the Lord: Come, Lord Jesus!
- As our new week begins, let’s look back to last week. Did we see events and situations in our world which invite prayer from us? If so, would anyone like to share a prayer……..?
- Let’s gather all our prayers spoken and shared and those that are deep within our hearts as we pray the great Prayer of the Church…….Our Father…
Leader: O God, comforter of all your people, make us ever aware that we have been baptised in the Holy Spirit and redeemed in the blood of your Son, Jesus, who lives and loves forever and ever. Amen.
Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.
1. The Cross
ALL WE SHALL TAKE IT.
2. The bread……………
ALL WE SHALL BREAK IT.
3. The pain
ALL WE SHALL BEAR IT
4. The joy………………
ALL WE SHALL SHARE IT
5. The Gospel……………
ALL WE SHALL LIVE IT.
6. The love…………
ALL WE SHALL GIVE IT.
7. The light……………
ALL WE SHALL CHERISH IT.
8. The darkness…………….
ALL WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.