Is. 35:1-6,10; James 5:7-10; Matt 11:2-11



Mt 11:2-11

THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT is traditionally called the “Gaudete Sunday.” As Christmas Day gets closer and closer, we are also getting excited and joyful. However, the readings today do not only emphasize the spirit of joy, but they also propose some attitudes on how should we prepare for the Lord’s coming.

In the First Reading, we heard of the prophet Isaiah saying, “Be strong, fear not! Here is your God… who comes to save you.” And those who would be ransomed by the Lord will be crowned with everlasting joy. We, Christians, are being saved in and by Christ. His offer of salvation is a gift which must be acknowledged with much joy. But this joy seems to have disappeared now. Christianity and salvation is no longer felt as God’s gift, but a burden to one’s living. We need to go back to the original joy which was brought about by the salvation which is offered to us by Christ.

In the Second Reading, the Letter of James tells us of another attitude which is one of patience. “Be patient… until the coming of the Lord.” Since we do not know the exact time of the Lord’s (second) coming, it is but fitting to expect it more patiently. But this value runs counter to the value that the present world teaches. For instance, globalization and internet value instantaneity and quickness. Things which come to us instantly and quickly are being considered as good. But things which come too slow are simply bad and useless. In these cases, patience cannot be considered as a value. This could have an effect to our attitude toward the Lord’s coming because we need to patiently wait.

In the gospel, we heard of John who seemingly doubt whether Jesus is the person whom he and his disciples should expect. John has the reason to think or feel that way because he was expecting more of a fiery Messiah. But John patiently attempts to reflect and discern if Jesus is truly the Messiah. In the end, he acknowledges that indeed Jesus is. In today’s world, the numbers of doubters are rising. In fact, more and more people want to dissociate Christ from the Christmas celebration. They want to appear that what we do during Christmas season is just a mere holiday devoid of Christ. But we Christians are well aware that we cannot separate Christ from Christmas. It is his birth which we remember in this joyous season.

The readings tell us of the proper attitude while waiting for the Lord’s coming. We are expecting a very important person who offers us the most precious gift, that is, salvation. And thus we cannot afford to simply forget and doubt him. He deserves to be waited with joy, and patience.


Five Tips For Keeping the Season of Advent Holy in Our Domestic Churches

December 10, 2013 | By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle |

It’s that wonderful and holy time of year that our Church calls “Advent.” We might be planning (or at least hoping) to observe this Advent season in a holier way than we have in the past but aren’t quite sure how to accomplish it. After all, there’s that crazy time factor to deal with – or shall I say, the “lack thereof”? Advent seems to speed by and we might end up lamenting later on that we missed out on what we had hoped to do.

Then there’s the advertising frenzy we are forced to contend with, which blares at us at every turn. Even when we are careful, our impressionable kids are exposed to all the tricks and distractions from the secular media. We want to be careful not to allow them to get caught up in the hype or get distracted ourselves.

So, during Advent, I think we really need to make our home “another Nazareth” as Mother Teresa once told me. I’d like to share five tips with you which will hopefully help to keep Advent holy in our domestic churches. In order to carry out these tips we have to establish at least a little bit of structure into our days or that holiness we are talking about just might not happen.

Here are the five Advent tips. You can simply incorporate one of them into your family’s life or try them all.

1) Create a holy home.

Now, that’s easy, right? Well, not exactly, but with using a few simple tangible items, our homes become more like a little church (a domestic church!) rather than just blending into everything else in society. I suggest using an Advent wreath and light the candles each night at dinner. Say a prayer or two after you say your Grace Before Meals. Some families use a Jesse Tree. Either of these two Advent traditions are wonderful (or both). Place sacred and holy images and art around the household. These holy reminders and sacramentals help the family to look to heavenly things rather than the secular world.

2) Dedicate time for prayer.

If we don’t pencil in our Creator to our “to-do” list, our conversation with Him might not happen. I recommend that we pray first thing in the morning. Get your day started off right. Say a simple prayer together as a family at the breakfast table. No matter how busy you are, make it happen.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your love for us. Please bring our family close to You today. Help us to see You in others and serve You in them. Amen.” Or, whatever you’d like to say.

Later, at night, pray again while around the dinner table And, of course, all throughout the day you’ll be lifting your hearts heavenward. You will be creating an essential prayer habit. Help your family to establish a very good prayer habit.

3) Choose a Saint.

Get acquainted with a saint and read about their life at the dinner table. This need not be a complicated task. It’s actually quite easy. Use a book you have in your family library or get some information from a good online Catholic source. Read even just a couple of lines or a paragraph to the family at dinner whenever you can. Offer them a question about the saint to ponder (and to see if they were listening!). And then, invoke the saint together as a family all throughout Advent. With this simple addition to your Advent tradition, your family will be learning about a saint as well, you will be helping them to focus on heavenly things instead of the advertising frenzy and the lack of good values of the secular culture (which we are trying to keep outside the doors of our domestic church).

4) Establish a “NO NOISE” time (and/or zone).

Once or twice a week (or even everyday if possible) set a timer for ten minutes. Explain to the kids that they are to be very quiet during that short period of time. You can give the older ones a suggested line of Scripture or information about the saint you are learning about. They are to meditate for ten minutes on something holy (the line from Scripture, the saint, the season of Advent, an idea to do to help someone, etc., etc). There should be no grumbling or complaining about this. We can all spare ten minutes, can’t we?

You will be assisting your family to carve out the essential time for silence in their lives. We all need quiet time to be able to listen to God. How can we possibly hear Him whispering to our hearts and souls when there is too much noise around us and if we are so preoccupied with everything else? Encouraging the family to listen for God will certainly prove to very beneficial as they grow in holiness and are exposed to all kinds of experiences and distractions from the secular world. Carving out a quiet time is a simple habit to learn which can be carried throughout life.

5) Strive to live in the present moments of your life.

Surrender your heart to God this Advent season. Accept what God gives you each day. You might try to take some extra time out to pray and suddenly the kids aren’t cooperating or the neighbor is ringing the doorbell needing your help, or you’re sick, or facing some sort of challenge, etc., etc. God might be asking you to put aside your preconceptions of what your prayer should be at that moment, and further, He might want you to allow Him to show you another way to pray–actively–giving your heart to those He puts in your midst (without complaining). Or, He might be asking you to offer your sickness and sufferings to Him with love, asking that He transform them into graces to help you and your family. So, whatever it is, try hard to accept Our Lord’s Advent “gifts” for you and answer Him with a loving “Yes!”

Live in the moment this Advent and with God’s grace and your faithfulness, your life will become a beautiful prayer to God!


Be joyful, live your faith

by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
December 13, 2013

In a class on homiletics (preaching), the professor emphasized the importance of making the facial expression harmonize with the homily. “When you speak of Heaven,” he said, “let your face light up with a heavenly gleam; let your eyes shine with glory. But when you speak of Hell — your ordinary face will do.”

* * *

“Rejoice,” “be joyful,” (Gaudete) is the message of this 3rd Sunday of Advent. That’s why the liturgical color is pink.

With the birth of Christ the Messiah, the Sunday tells us to be “joyful in hope” because the Messiah has already redeemed us.

* * *

In this Gaudete Sunday, Jesus is telling us also that our Christian faith demands of us concrete acts of love. When Jesus was asked by one of the followers of John the Baptist who was imprisoned by King Herod: “Are you the real Messiah?”

Jesus’ reply was: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see; the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor” (Mt 11, 4-5).

* * *

These are the concrete, tangible signs whereby people will be able to recognize the true Messiah. This is a fulfillment of the messianic prophecy of Isaiah in this Sunday’s first reading (Is 35,6), words  uttered 800 years before the birth of Christ.

* * *

From the nature of Christ’s mission flows the nature of our Christian religion. John the Baptist, the Messiah’s herald who went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming the coming of Christ, was asked for direction: “What must we do then?” (Lk 3,10).

The Baptist’s answer was simple and direct. “If anyone has two tunics, he must share with the man who has none. And the one who has something to eat must do the same” (Lk 3,11). Then, to those who were using their positions of power to exploit, cheat and intimidate people, John said, “No more!”

* * *

In other words, “faith alone” is not enough. Faith should bear fruit in active works of love (cf. Gal 5,6). “Faith without works is dead.”

The point is that if we tell people we have faith, we can’t expect them to believe us; even demons have faith (cf. James 2,19).

The outpouring of sympathy, solidarity, and overwhelming assistance in cash and kind to the victims of super-typhoon “Yolanda” is a clear manifestation of faith in action.

* * *

We should, however, manifest that Christian attitude not just when there are calamities or dramatic situations but also in the little day-to-day acts, away from media publicity, like helping needy people or caring for sick elderly.

* * *

As we move closer to Christmas, let’s not put the spirit of Christmas into words only, but rather put ACTION into our words.


See Today’s Readings:  Cycle A

Back to: Third Sunday of Advent (Year A)

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