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Thursday, 09 December 2021 11:02

Celebrating At Home - 3rd Sunday of Advent

What must we do? (Luke 3:10-18)

We continue to focus on John the Baptist in the Gospel today. Last week we heard about John’s ministry of preaching repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sins. The idea of repentance is about turning around and facing in a new direction. John’s call to the people was to turn away from the old ways of life and to turn towards God.

The Gospel opens with the people, the tax collectors and some soldiers, having heard the call to change their lives, all asking John, ‘What must we do?”

These three groups would normally be very suspicious of each other. The Roman soldiers, occupying the country, the locals who collected tax on behalf of the Romans, and the crowd, often the victim of both. Yet somehow John’s preaching has brought them all together in a community of sorts.

Notice how practical John’s advice is. And, at the same time, it is a call to live by the values of compassion (to the crowd), justice (to the tax collectors), and the promotion of peace (to the soldiers).

Values and behaviours opposite to these hinder relationship with God, dehumanise others and ruin life in community.

What results from conversion is a new way of life. In the Gospel, John spells out what that new way of life might look like for these groups of people.

John’s teaching and advice build a sense of expectancy among the crowd. “Is this the One?” they ask themselves.

It would have been easy for John to get carried away with his popularity, but he proves to be a true servant of the Word (like the prophets) and directs the peoples’ attention away from himself and towards the One who is to come.

Feelings of expectation and rejoicing dominate the prayers and readings of this part of Advent as we grow closer to celebrating the Christmas feast.

Our celebration of the historical birth of Jesus is the lens through which we again contemplate the enduring presence of Jesus in our lives.

Accompanied by the beautiful thoughts of the first reading we can be confident in God’s love, which (as the reading says) renews us.

How do we respond to this new awareness of God’s abiding love? We ask the same question as the people asked John, “What must I do?” Our response to that question leads to a reformation of our attitudes and behaviour towards others. To be baptised with the Holy Spirit and with fire is to be baptised ‘from within’, to have hearts and minds re- made in the image and likeness of Christ.

Learning the way of Christ is how we become the wheat in the Kingdom of God, not the chaff in the fire.

The Season of Advent

The word “advent” means appearing, arrival, to come. Advent is the Church’s time of preparation for celebrating God’s gift of his Son. Our liturgy will gather the great Advent themes of hope, expectation and preparation. During Advent we recall Christ’s coming at Bethlehem and we look forward to his second coming at the end of time.
Advent is a season of joyful expectation.

Advent has two parts. The first two Sundays focus on preparing for Jesus’ return at the end of time. The second two Sundays focus on preparing to celebrate the anniversary of Jesus’ birth.

The Gospels of the Sundays in Advent have four great movements 1. Stay Awake! 2. Prepare! 3. Rejoice! and 4. Receive!

Advent is a journey from
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
to
Emmanuel. God-is-with-us!

...

This resource is presented by the Carmelites of Australia & Timor-Leste at a time when we cannot gather together as we usually do to celebrate the Eucharist. We are conscious that Christ is present not only in the Blessed Sacrament but also in the Scriptures and in our hearts. Even when we are on our own we remain part of the Body of Christ.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. During Advent it is particularly appropriate to have an Advent Wreath in the place where you pray. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

This text is arranged with parts for a leader and for all to pray, but the leader’s parts can be shared among those present.

As you use this prayer know that the Carmelites will be remembering in our prayer all the members of our family at this time.

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