Engaging Faith | Thu, Dec 13, 2012
Lectionary Reflections for the Third Week of Advent
Third Sunday of Advent (c)
December 16, 2012 Gaudete Sunday
[Gaudete is the Latin word for "rejoice," the first word of the entrance antiphon, taken from today's second reading.]
December 8: Hanukkah begins at sunset and continues until December 16 (Judaism)
December 10: Human Rights Day
December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 15: Bill of Rights Day (US)
December 16-24: Las Posadas celebrated in Mexico http://www.mexconnect.com/MEX/austin/posadas.html
December 18: International Migrants Day http://www.un.org/en/events/migrantsday/
The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts.
~ Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 1
Being a Christian has never been easy, nor is it easy today. Following Christ demands the courage of radical choices, which often means going against the stream. "We are Christ!” St Augustine exclaimed.
~ John Paul II, 26 November 2000
The present situation of the world, from the point of view of development, offers a rather negative impression. … Without going into an analysis of figures and statistics, it is sufficient to face squarely the reality of an innumerable multitude of people--children, adults and the elderly in other words, real and unique human persons, who are suffering under the intolerable burden of poverty. There are many millions who are deprived of hope due to the fact that, in many parts of the world, their situation has noticeably worsened. Before these tragedies of total indigence and need, in which so many of our brothers and sisters are living, it is the Lord Jesus himself who comes to question us (cf. Mt 25: 31-46).
~ John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 13
The dignity of the individual and the demands of justice require, particularly today, that economic choices do not cause disparities in wealth to increase in an excessive and morally unacceptable manner, and that we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone.
~ Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 32
Thoughts for your consideration
The first two readings are full of joy and hope. Then, in the gospel, John the Baptist seems to be placing very demanding expectations before the people of his day. In different ways, he invites different people to make changes in their lives. He gets very explicit. He challenges people.
We might hear all this with a certain dread as we think about making radical changes in our lives and in our world. We might dread giving up things or doing things in a new way. We might feel resistance to change. We might dread taking stands that some of our friends and neighbors will not accept. However, we should not forget the tone of joy and hope that is found in the first two readings. Maybe the change we are called to is not something to dread or fear, but something that will lead us and the world community to freedom and life. Maybe the challenges of our social teaching are more than a burden. Maybe they can be a source of joy and freedom.
The demanding social teaching of the church can seem to be a heavy obligation. However, the radical call of Jesus and the demands of justice are not only a burden but also a source of freedom and joy. It is a gift that can set us free and bless the world.
* To let go of the demands of our consumer culture can let us relax and be ourselves.
* To let go of our tendency to worry about public opinion can give us the strength to speak up with courage.
* To let go of our violence toward others, can give us the freedom to be loving human persons.
* To let go of the expense of a large military budget, can allow us to spend money to promote human values.
* To adopt a life style that respects our environment will lead us to peace and justice.
* To let go of our fear can allow us to ask good questions.
Questions for your faith sharing group
John the Baptist offers answers to the question “What shall we do?” as it is asked by the people, by tax collectors, and by soldiers. What answer would he give to people today who ask (parents, children, poor people, rich people, middle class people, bankers, stock brokers, business executives, factory workers, the unemployed, soldiers, political leaders, women, men, the elderly, children, lawyers, doctors, people with our health insurance, etc.)?
Read Brenda’s story at:
Actions – Links
International Migrants Day
The UN has designated December 18 as International Migrants Day. For information go to:
“December 18 is a Brussels-based non-profit organization working for the promotion and protection of the rights of migrants worldwide. The name of the organization refers to the day when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the “International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families”. Today, the 18th of December is also known as International Migrants Day.” http://www.december18.net/
Justice for Immigrants is a campaign of the Catholic Church
* To educate the public about Church teaching on migration and immigrants;
* To create political will for positive immigration reform;
* To enact legislative and administrative reforms based on the principles articulated by the bishops; and
* To organize Catholic networks to assist qualified immigrants obtain the benefits of the reforms.
Learn and participate at http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org
Urge Members of Congress to support responsibility, accountability and transparency at the International Monetary Fund at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/863/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY...
Find out more at http://www.jubileeusa.org
Low pay is a systemic problem in the domestic work industry in the United States.
_ 23 percent of workers surveyed are paid below the state minimum wage.
_ 70 percent are paid less than $13 an hour.
_ 67 percent of live-in workers are paid below the state minimum wage and the median hourly wage of these workers is $6.15.
Domestic workers rarely receive employment benefits.
_ Less than 2 percent receive retirement or pension benefits from their primary employer.
_ Less than 9 percent work for employers who pay into Social Security.
_ 65 percent do not have health insurance, and only 4 percent receive employer-provided insurance.
Read the complete report at
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, help us make room for peace and justice.
In solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters during Hanukkah, may we learn to stand up to oppression and work for justice, we pray….
As we approach International Immigrants Day, may we be blessed with the wisdom and love to welcome those who are searching for a new home and community, we pray….
As we have celebrated Human Rights Day this Monday, may we be blessed with a renewed dedication to guarantee the human rights of all people, we pray….
As we have just celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, may we continue to share a faith that learns from and welcomes all the people of the Americas, we pray….
As we move toward Christmas, may our preparations be free from the tyranny of consumerism and the commercial culture and open to the vision and challenge and joy of Jesus Christ, we pray….
As we move toward Christmas, may we make room for the Christ to be born again in our world, we pray….
Sing aloud and shout...
with only eight more days to shop?
Sing aloud and shout and rejoice with all your heart...
that our Christmas cards are mailed and presents are wrapped?
Sing aloud and shout for joy for the Lord has taken away the judgments against you...
for the fruits of repentance are radical generosity and faithfulness.
Sing and shout, rejoice and proclaim good news to all...
Let us bear the fruit of our baptism—in trusting our lives to God completely,
let us bear the fruit of our baptism—haring our resources, our time and talents,
our very selves with the world,
and let us bear the fruit of our baptism—as the Spirit ignites our hearts with love.
We light three candles on the wreath.
The first reminds us to watch and to proclaim justice and peace.
The second calls us to prepare.
The third candle invites us to dare.
To let this light shine upon all the darkness within
and turn around to follow God's love again.
Let us sing, shout, and be joy-filled people,
sharing the good news from rooftops and steeples,
until all nations know that they are loved by God and God’s people.
Breath of Life, shine your light into our hearts. Help us to be faith-filled as we live with one another. Forgive us for the hurts we caused by words and deeds. And may we be a forgiving light to those who have hurt us. Amen.
Taken from http://www.rca.org