Sunday, December 15, 2013

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, December 15, 2013 with Reflection

Third Sunday of Advent
1ST READING - Isaiah 35:1-6, 10
The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing. 10 Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.
P S A L M - Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
R: Lord, come and save us.
The Lord God keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets captives free.(R) The Lord gives sight to the blind. The Lord raises up those who were bowed down; the Lord loves the just. The Lord protects strangers. (R) The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. 10 The Lord shall reign forever; your God, O Zion, through all generations. (R)
2ND READING - James 5:7-10
Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates. 10 Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
Matthew 11:2-11
When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’ 11Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”



Anyone who has hiked up a mountain knows this. It is not so much the climbing that is difficult, as the coming down from the mountain. Guess where it hurts most — the knees! Knees wobble after many grueling hours on the way down.

       This portion of the climb is anything but fun. One needs a walking stick. One looks for something to hold onto to steady wobbling knees. One finds it doubly difficult as it is even harder to break the inertia by stopping, sitting, or resting. Like in everything we do, once we’ve “been there, done that,” all excitement has gone. The euphoria of being on top of the world has worn off, and all that remains is to get back home soonest.

       We all have read about midlife crisis. But we don’t have to be experts of developmental psychology to know that the most difficult portion of any journey, or any activity for that matter, is when one navigates through midstream. This is when boredom sets in. This is when discouragement, like a monster, rears its ugly head. This is when most people give up and when accidents and injuries are most likely to happen, when attention and focus are replaced by ennui and fatigue.

       I have to be honest with you. I have always been a very passionate man, and I did my duties responsibly — up until midlife, when boredom and cynicism began to set in. I felt things were going nowhere, and the country was getting more corrupt and showbiz-crazed, and that my students were giving me annual proof of the so-called “law of diminishing returns.” In short, there never was anything right with the world!

       Today, the readings give us a shot in the arm. We are midway through Advent, and middles are muddles to pass through. We can either forge ahead or throw in the towel. We are impatient like the gospel characters who could not seem to wait: “Are you the one who is to come?” The Lord, through Isaiah, rouses us: “Strengthen all weary hands, steady all trembling knees.” Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What do you do when you feel that your hands are “weary” and your knees are “trembling”? Let the Lord strengthen you today.
Dear Jesus, I need You. Help me to continue this journey called life — till You call me Home.

Blessed Mary Frances Schervier, pray for us.

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