Liturgy of the Sunday

Ossza Meg

Third Sunday of Advent
Remembrance of Gigi, a child from Naples, who died violently in 1983. With him we remember all the children who suffer or have died because of human violence. Prayer for children.


First Reading

Isaiah 35,1-6.8.10

Let the desert and the dry lands be glad, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom; like the asphodel, let it burst into flower, let it rejoice and sing for joy. The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it, the splendour of Carmel and Sharon; then they will see the glory of Yahweh, the splendour of our God. Strengthen all weary hands, steady all trembling knees and say to the faint-hearted, 'Be strong! Do not be afraid. Here is your God, vengeance is coming, divine retribution; he is coming to save you.' Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, then the lame will leap like a deer and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy; for water will gush in the desert and streams in the wastelands, And through it will run a road for them and a highway which will be called the Sacred Way; the unclean will not be allowed to use it; He will be the one to use this road, the fool will not stray along it. For those whom Yahweh has ransomed will return, they will come to Zion shouting for joy, their heads crowned with joy unending; rejoicing and gladness will escort them and sorrow and sighing will take flight.

Psalmody

Psalm 145

Antiphon

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

My soul, give praise to the Lord;
I will praise the Lord all my days,
make music to God while I live.

Put no trust in princes,
in mortal men in whom there is no help.

Take their breath, they return to clay
and their plans that day come to nothing.

He is happy who is helped by Jacob's God,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,

who alone made heaven and earth,
the seas and all they contain.

It is he who keeps faith for ever,
who is just to those who are oppressed.

It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
the Lord, who sets prisoners free,

the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
who raises up those who are bowed down,

the Lord who protects the stranger
and upholds the widow and orphan.

It is the Lord who loves the just
but thwarts the path of the wicked.

The Lord will reign for ever,
Zion's God, from age to age.

Second Reading

James 5,7-10

Now be patient, brothers, until the Lord's coming. Think of a farmer: how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains! You too must be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord's coming will be soon. Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in patiently putting up with persecution, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord's name;

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 11,2-11

Now John had heard in prison what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, 'Are you the one who is to come, or are we to expect someone else?' Jesus answered, 'Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, those suffering from virulent skin-diseases are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the good news is proclaimed to the poor; and blessed is anyone who does not find me a cause of falling.' As the men were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John, 'What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Look, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says: Look, I am going to send my messenger in front of you to prepare your way before you. 'In truth I tell you, of all the children born to women, there has never been anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The Word of God that is offered to us on this third Sunday of Advent invites all those who live in the desert of this world to rejoice, because they are being given a promise: "They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God" (Is 35:2). The prophet opens the eyes of his listeners to see beyond the sadness and resignation of this world and invites them all to hope and to wait for the coming of God.
It is not a coincidence that John accompanies us through this season towards Christmas. He sends two of his disciples to Jesus and asks, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" This question is at the heart of this season of Advent. But it is also the question of every religious man or woman, and of every man or woman whose heart is concerned for the fate of the world. This Sunday, we join in asking about the meaning of Advent: how and when will the prophecy of Isaiah come true. We ask the Word of God, just as those disciples of John asked Jesus. The evangelist writes that John's disciples were welcomed by the prophet from Nazareth and that he did not fail to give them an answer: "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them." Repeating the words of the prophet Isaiah, Jesus sends them to tell John that the prophecy has been fulfilled. It is no longer just a dream; it is already reality.
Through the person of Jesus, who walks among men and women, the prophecy of Isaiah has begun to be fulfilled. And Jesus adds, "And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me." God's plan is fulfilled in Jesus, not in extraordinary wonders or in the mystery of esoteric magic, but in the simplicity of mercy and compassion. It is the responsibility of the generations of Christians, including our own, to make visible the signs that Jesus himself set as the beginning of a renewed world. We can give the same answer those who ask us, "Go and tell...what you hear and see." Indeed, we can see the signs of this Advent, this coming, around us today. There are those who have begun to proclaim the Gospel to the poor, there are those who perform miracles of God's charity, justice, and mercy. There are those who forget themselves and put themselves at the service of the weakest and the poorest. There are blind people who see loving friends at their side; there are those who know how to console people who are in tears and how to be tender and caring to those who are sick and abandoned.
Blessed are those who welcome these signs and let them touch their hearts. Jesus has come and he teaches us to walk with him, to work with him, to love with him, and to be moved with him by the tired and exhausted crowds that he encounters along his way. He teaches us not to lose hope while we wait and not to close our hearts in the narrow horizon of today, in pride and in resignation. "Come, Lord Jesus," was the ancient prayer of Christians. And it is also our prayer, which frees us from our sad fascination with the desert of this world.