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Sunday Scripture Readings Dec. 13

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Dec. 13, Third Sunday of Advent

            Cycle C. Readings:

            1) Zephaniah 3:14-18a

            Psalm: Isaiah 12:2-6

            2) Philippians 4:4-7

            Gospel: Luke 3:10-18

 

Recently I was invited to lead a discussion on evangelization as part of a faith formation series hosted by a local group of Catholic young adults.

But as people arrived for that evening’s session, their informal conversations were all focused on a fatal shooting that had occurred in our small city earlier in the day. The entire community was shocked and in mourning, and this group felt particularly connected to the tragedy because the two victims were their peers: young people in their 20s, just starting out in promising careers, committed relationships and happily anticipating what lies ahead.

So the group began the gathering with an earnest prayer for these young adults and their families and friends. Later, as we talked about Christ’s call to all of us to go and make disciples, I prompted the group to consider what motivated them, personally, to evangelize. “Why do you want to share the Gospel and encourage others to live this life of Jesus?” I asked.

15wl1213            One participant, Joe, began his response simply, “To make the world a better place.”

Then he went deeper: “If everyone was caring and loving, if everyone lived the way of Jesus, with concern and compassion for everyone else, imagine how different humanity would be. Imagine what life would be like. There wouldn’t be such terrible things as what happened today.”

This third Sunday of Advent calls us to joyful expectation. It calls us to anticipate the coming of Christ to humanity. It calls us to imagine, as Joe does, life fully infused by the spirit of Jesus.

In Luke’s Gospel, John the Baptist reminds us also to prepare the way for it. The crowd asks, “What should we do?” John exhorts them to treat everyone justly and with dignity. Additionally, today’s readings tell us to spread the life of Christ. “Give thanks to the Lord, acclaim his name; among the nations make known his deeds,” the prophet Isaiah says, and Paul tells the Philippians, “Your kindness should be known to all.”

In effect, live and proclaim Jesus’s Gospel. Joe said it can transform humanity. Zephaniah said it will.

“Fear not,” he prophesied, “the Lord, your, God is in your midst, a mighty savior.” Live Jesus’ life. Spread his message. Expect joy.

— Jean Denton

QUESTION:

How can you prepare the way for Jesus to live within and among the people you know and encounter every day?