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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 17.12.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 17.12.2023

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ISAIAH 61: 1 – 2a, 10 – 11

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD Will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Luke 1: 46 – 48, 49 – 50, 53 – 54 (R.) Is. 61: 10b

R/. My soul shall exult in my God.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. R/.

For he who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation. R/.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy. R/.

SECOND READING
“May your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless.”
1ST THESSALONIANS 5: 16 – 24

Brethren: Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, but test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil. May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

The Word of the Lord.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Luke 4: 18

Alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has sent me to preach good news to the poor.
Alleluia

GOSPEL
“Among you stands one whom you do not know.”
JOHN 1: 6 – 8, 19 – 28

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.” They said to him then, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Then why are you baptising, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptise with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptising.

The Gospel of the Lord.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Meeting Christ in the Desert


December 17, 2023
Third Sunday of Advent (Year B)

“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’” as Isaiah the prophet said.” (John 1:23)

In the passage above, Saint John the Baptist quotes Isaiah 40:3: “A voice proclaims: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” This was a prophecy of Isaiah who was speaking about the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon back to Jerusalem. Normally, people would travel along the well-watered routes from Mesopotamia to Israel. Those routes were safer than the desert and provided the necessary food and water for the journey. But Isaiah prophesied that the Jewish exiles would travel the shortest route—straight across the desert—and that God would provide for their needs during that journey. Such a journey required much trust in the providence of God.

John the Baptist, in quoting Isaiah, applies this prophecy to himself. He was called to cry out in the desert and point people directly to the Messiah. It was in the desert that they would discover their Savior.

First of all, John cries out in the “desert.” His message is for those who experience dryness, destitution, need and loss in life due to sin. His message of repentance is first for those who are without the spiritual nourishment God wants to bestow upon them through grace. The message of John is pointed to those who humbly see the difficult situation they are facing in life and acknowledge their need for the Living Water of the Savior of the World.

Second, this new “straight” way implies that many are not walking the direct path to Christ. Instead, they are taking unnecessary detours in life. John’s message is one that calls everyone to the straight and direct way of repenting of their sins so that they can come to faith in Christ Jesus.

Third, walking through the desert to find Christ requires trust in God’s providence. It takes courage to make such a journey. Trust in the ongoing providence of God, Who promises to meet all of our needs, is key. One would not walk straight through the desert if they did not trust their guide.

Advent is a time to reexamine the road you are on. Are you trying to find your own way to happiness? Are you trusting in your own abilities, your own intelligence and your own plan for the future? If so, then listen to the “voice of one crying out in the wilderness.” Listen to Saint John speak to you, calling you to the simplicity of the desert, to a greater detachment from all things, to an abandonment of all that is not of God, and to a more willing trust in the providence of God to lead you.

Reflect, today, upon this calling from the desert and listen to the message God is speaking to you, personally. Abandon all worldly concerns, repent of sin, trust in Him and go out to meet Him so that you can more quickly and more easily come to a deeper faith in our Lord during this Advent season.

PRAYER:
My loving Lord, You are there, waiting for me in the darkness and dryness of my sin. You are waiting for me to lead me and guide me through the many challenges I face in life. Please give me the courage and wisdom I need to trust in You enough to follow You wherever You lead. Jesus, I trust in You.

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