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This Week's Liturgy


December 14th, 2014 (see other dates)

Third Sunday of Advent

Discussion Questions for Reading 1

Who do we know that is sad or troubled or caught in a situation they can't fix? Who is brokenhearted? Who is held captive by fear or doubt or bad habits or addictions? Who doubts God's love for him or her? How can we help now? How can we prepare ourselves to work for changes?

What does it mean to say "The Spirit of God is upon me?" What does this mean for our work, for what God calls us to do?

Reading 1 Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11

Reading 1 Reflection

In this reading we are told what the Messiah will do:

  • bring good news
  • heal the brokenhearted
  • set people free
  • proclaim God's love
When Jesus came as the Messiah, he used these words of Isaiah to describe his work. Bethlehem is only the beginning of his work in the world. Jesus wants us to share his work, to be signs of light in our dark and troubled world.

Discussion Questions for Reading 2

What does St. Paul tell us are the three things that God wills for us "in Christ Jesus?" What does "stifle" mean here? What does it mean to "test everything?"

What are two sentences that tell Paul’s wishes for the Thessalonians? What sentence reassures us that we will be holy?

Reading 2 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Reading 2 Reflection

This reading is taken from what is probably the oldest New Testament book, Saint Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians, the people of northern Greece. It was written in the year 50 A.D. and gives us a picture of the concerns of the Christian community twenty years after the ascension of Jesus. The first three sentences state what for Paul are basic traits of the Christian: joy, prayer, and thanksgiving. He prays that when Jesus comes we may be "blameless," without sin and worthy of our Lord's coming.

Discussion Questions for Gospel

What does John say that he is not? What does John say that he is? Do you think John is clear about what his work is? Why does John baptize? How can we prepare for the one who is coming?

Gospel John 1:6-8, 19-28

Gospel Reflection

Today's gospel reading is about the importance of giving witness. The role of John the Baptist was to testify to the light that is Christ. John the Baptist said he was not the Messiah. His baptism and his preaching were to prepare for the Messiah, one far greater than John. It is the coming of the Messiah that the entire world awaits, and we learn about who the Messiah is from all of today's readings. Waiting requires patience on our part, and becoming prepared for the one who is coming. How are we preparing to celebrate Jesus' coming this Christmas as the Messiah? What kindness can we give to others this week to show that we are ready?

Pray to the Spirit to know what your work in the world is.

Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades

Garden of Justice

Prepare several flowers cut from construction paper. Glue these onto craft sticks. Write words of justice and praise on these flowers. Some suggestions include "good job," "you're great," "super," "share," "take turns," and "be fair."

Place the "flower sticks" in a flowerpot or window box filled with birdseed and place on the prayer table. Each day, pick one flower and read it to the children. Place this flower in a bud vase and explain that this message is the focus for the day. Encourage the children to practice the words of justice or use the words of praise all day.

The Light of the World

In the Gospel of John we are told that John the Baptist has come to testify to the Light, but he is not the Light. Jesus is the Light of the World for whom we wait during Advent.

Copy the star pattern below. Help each child cut out the star, trace it on a sheet of cardstock and then cut it out. Mix soapflakes in yellow poster paint. Have the children paint their stars on one side, allow that side to dry, and then paint the other side. When the stars are completely dry, punch a hole at the top of each, and put a length of ribbon or yarn through to make a loop. Tell the children to hang their stars where they will see it often to help them remember that Jesus is the Light of the World.

Proclaiming Faith Activities

Writing a Letter

Read again the message of Paul to the Thessalonians. Now think about your own parish community. What advice do you think Paul would give to the people of your parish today? Write a letter to them expressing this advice. What would you tell them is the will of God for them in Christ Jesus?

Reflecting on My Relationship with Jesus

The priests and Levites came to John the Baptist asking, "Who are you?" What was John the Baptist's answer? What does John the Baptist's answer tell us about his relationship to Jesus?

How would you answer if someone asked, "Who are you?"

Does your answer say anything about your relationship to Jesus? If so, what does it say? If not, how would you describe your relationship to Jesus?

Write or print a two-line response to the question, "Who are you?"

Try to include your relationship to Jesus.

For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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