“…Your Kindness should be known to all… The Lord is near. Have no anxiety…”

A Reflection for the Third Week in Advent by Sister Natalie DeLuca, MHSH

Readings:
Zephaniah 3:14-18A
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:10-18

You may have read (or heard it more than once) that when Pope Francis was on his American visit, he brought an indescribable sense of joy and excitement that touched hearts; cheering crowds felt a presence. As we enter the third week of “waiting” for Christ’s coming, we read and listen to the Word of Scripture with a sense of excitement that recalls simplicity and joy.

3rd Sunday of Advent WreathHe, the Christ, is coming. We prepare for the coming of the anniversary of his birth. Our longing does not leave us empty or bereft, as if we had been deprived of being present at his historic coming. For we know he comes still. He comes to us in a multitude of mysterious graces. He comes in the Eucharist to share our life’s journey. He comes in mystery of the stranger and of the beloved ones who are his face and voice.

He will come again—in Glory! The Word today cautions us: He is near. Have no anxiety. He is the Light who shatters the darkness; He is Mercy and Compassion who comforts in moments of darkness; He is Gentleness who fires our heart with love, understanding and courage. He will come to welcome each of us to His heavenly kingdom and death will be no more.

“…Your kindness should be known to all…The Lord is near. Have no anxiety.”

 

Take a few moments to reflect on Past Advents:

What Word of Advent Scripture lights your path to Christmas?

What present experiences of meeting Christ in Mystery do you cherish?

What Advent experiences of the past have shaped this Christmas celebration?

What persons from your personal history are enshrined in your heart and influenced you on your journey to meet the Christ of Glory?

With Joyful Voices – A Reflection for the Third Week of Advent

By Sister Agnesine Seluzicki, MHSH

On this third Sunday of Advent we are greeted with exalted cries of REJOICE! With voices from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, we are called to celebrate, to rejoice.  Isaiah proclaims, “I rejoice heartily in the Lord…”  We hear Mary sing out, “My soul rejoices in my God…”  And Paul joins this chorus with “Rejoice in the Lord always…again I say, rejoice” Why such jubilation?  Because, as Paul explains, “…the Lord is near.”

The promise has been fulfilled and yet in its fulfillments we still find unfinished business.  In Jesus, God came to be with us, to walk among us, to bring hope and peace and justice to an aching humanity.  Therein lies the agenda for each of us.  John the Baptist, in this Sunday’s liturgy responds to those who ask who he is by stating, “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord.”  In our Baptism, each of us has been given a mandate.  We are to be a voice, a voice like that of John, announcing the day of the Lord.

All that God asks of us is to use the voice that is ours at this moment in our lives.  It can be a strong, vibrant voice, or that of someone who has borne the heat of the day and can hardly speak beyond a whisper.  All God asks is that you allow yourself to be the voice through which God enables someone to experience today that “the Lord is near.”

That voice can be a smile of affirmation, a nod of approval and encouragement.  It can be a kind word or act.  Then, there is that phone call or email that you have been putting off.  Whatever it is, allow yourself to be a voice that prepares the way for the peace, love, joy and hope that Jesus has come to bring.