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Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

December 17, A.D. 2006

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Zephaniah 3:14-18a
Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
Philippians Phil 4:4-7
Luke 3:10-18

A brief reflection on today's Scripture passages:

Are you one of those people who are so impatient for Christmas that they sneak around the house, looking for hidden presents? I have a friend who still looks into closets until she finds a few, then shakes them, hoping to discover what’s in them! She just can’t wait!

That’s the spirit of the Third Sunday of Advent—“Gaudete Sunday” as it’s sometimes called, from the Latin word for “Rejoice!” The original hearers of Zephaniah’s prophecy must have gone wild with joy as he told them that the Lord has removed his original harsh judgment against them. This ordinarily gloomy prophet now urges them to rejoice and shout for joy, for God is in their midst.

St. Paul speaks in similar terms to the Philippians as he urges them to always rejoice, for the Lord’s coming is close at hand. Have you wondered about that name for Jesus that one sees frequently—Emmanuel? There it is again. God is with us!

Isn’t it time in our journey toward eternal life that we take to heart those words which we have heard every Advent of our lives? If we really haven’t taken this truth to heart, then, we cannot really stir up much reason for joy, especially as Christmas draws near. We are often far more present to the media news reports of murders, rapes, and the horrors of war than we are to the great truth that God lives in the midst of people, including our family and fellow-workers. Do we want to see God? Then we must look into the eyes of our neighbor. If we don’t see love there, then we must give them our loving smile. This daily exercise of finding God in others is the key to a good preparation for another coming of Jesus into our sad world this Christmas. It’s time to stir up our faith that, as it really happened two thousand years ago, it is really happening again in 2006.

Now, the Gospel has a different tone—it tells us to be serious about changing our lives. Soldiers, shopkeepers, politicians and clergy were all among that desert crowd listening to John the Baptist. As he persuaded them that the Messiah was really near, many anxiously shouted out to John, “What must we do?”

It’s later than we think. As we rejoice with the Church today, let’s focus on prayer, a good confession, and a well-planned resolution to make Christ’s coming this year the best one of our lives.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
(pwhitmore29 at yahoo dot com)

The Third Sunday of Advent

(Gaudete Sunday)

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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