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Third Sunday of Advent

Psalm 138:2: I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
Heavenly Father, we praise you for your steadfast love and truthfulness revealed in your preservation of your Church through all the years of history. We will cherish your Church and do all we can to help it grow and mature to become more like Jesus. We recognize that you and you alone are to be exalted above all other things and that church must never be more important than your will exposed in your word. Give us the courage to be true to you even if the church with whom we are involved may not fully honor you and, make us a herald of your word of truth and grace. Through Infant Jesus we pray. Amen.
  Today's Readings ... (December 11, 2011)
Third Sunday of Advent
First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-2a,10-11
Responsorial Psalm: Lk 1:46-48,49-50,53-54
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Gospel: John 1:6-8,19-28

  Meditation on Today's Gospel: (John 1:6-8,19-28)
When John the Baptist proclaimed the imminent coming of God's anointed one, the Messiah, the religious leaders questioned his power to speak so boldly in God's name. They inquired him bluntly, "Who are you?" and "What do you say regarding yourself?" They wanted to know if he was actually sent by God. Did he assert to be the Messiah or one of the great prophets who was predictable to come back and announce the Messiah's arrival? John had no hesitation and no mistaken identity about his call and mission. In all humbleness and sincerity he said he was only a voice bidding people to get prepared for the arrival of the most Ruler of all, God's anointed King and Messiah. John the Baptist bridges the Old Testaments and the New. He is the last of the Old Testament prophets who points the way to the Savior. He is the first of the New Testament spectators and martyrs. He is the messenger who prepares the way for Jesus and who proclaims his mission to the people: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John saw from far what the Messiah would come to complete – our redemption from slavery to sin and our acceptance as sons and daughters of God, our heavenly Father. Do you distinguish who you are in Christ? The Lord Jesus has come to reinstate us to friendship with God and he has made us citizens of heaven – his eternal Kingdom of peace and justice.

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