Third Sunday of Advent
Readings (click here for the Sunday readings)
Gospel: Jn 1:6-8, 19-28
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
And this is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests
and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it,
but admitted, “I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘make straight the way of the Lord,’”
as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.
The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.
A Vocations Angle
During this time of pandemic my life as vocation director, and priest, has truly been altered. Full time vocation directors depend on the ability to move about the archdiocese and interact with parishes and groups of young people speaking about vocations and encouraging men and woman to consider a religious calling. These days, my mornings usually consist with prayer in the silence of my room and daily Mass in a guestroom that has been converted into a small chapel. While I am not plugged into a parish community these days, the grace has been that I have the time and space to “plug into” the daily readings with even more attention and heartfelt prayer.
On Thanksgiving Day, I used the readings for Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time and in prayer I found myself lingering on the first verse from the 18th chapter of the Book of Revelation, “I, John, saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth became illumined by his splendor” (Rev. 18:1). I was captivated by the whole earth being illuminated by the splendor of this angel. The angel was so good, so pure, so devoted to doing the will of God that God’s own splendor is shown through him. Wow!
On this Third Sunday of Advent the Church invites us to continue our reflection on the person of St. John the Baptist. He came to testify to the splendor of the light of Christ that has come into the world. The image above is an image of the Transfiguration. Jesus is the perfect, obedient son of God the Father. So much so that they are one and the Father’s divine light is shone through him as he wishes. Either in a mountain top experience like on Mount Tabor, or in the valley of the wilderness as he raised the dead and set captives free from sin. Jesus’ whole life is illuminated by the light of God the Father.
But as with St. John the Baptist, we know, in all humility, that we are not the light. We are not the second person of the Trinity, the only begotten Son of God. He is our Lord and our Savior. However, Jesus himself tells us that we are “the light of the world” and our light “must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:14-16). In a very profound way, all of us are called to illumine the world with the splendor of Christ that shines through our good deeds and good words.
For those men and women who are called to a deeper configuration to the person of Jesus Christ through the vocation of priesthood or consecrated life, the participation in Jesus’ own splendor of the Father is all the more tangible.
As we make our way through these last weeks of Advent remember to take some time in the morning to allow yourself to linger with the Sacred Scriptures. Don’t rush, don’t have a plan of your own, just open your heart and allow the splendor of the light of Christ in the Sacred Scriptures illumine your heart. You may find that everything in your path that day will be blessed and richly provided for!
Have a blessed Advent Season!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Jeff Eirvin
Practical parish resources for the Third Sunday in Advent:
Prayer of the Faithful
For men called by the Lord to be priests, deacons and consecrated religious, that the peace of Christ will guide their hearts and minds as they proclaim the good news of salvation to His people, we pray to the Lord.
“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me.” You belong to Christ and Christ is God’s! How will you respond to so great a love? Is He asking you to follow Him by serving in the priesthood or consecrated life? Contact the Vocation Office at (503) 233-8368 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Prayer of the Faithful and Bulletin Blurbs in Spanish go to Resources.