Gospel and readings 13.12.2020

Third Sunday of Advent

Lectionary: 8

Reading 1

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God.

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
in my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
like a bride bedecked with her jewels.
As the earth brings forth its plants,
and a garden makes its growth spring up,
so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise
spring up before all the nations.

Responsorial Psalm

R. (Is 61:10b) My soul rejoices in my God.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
R. My soul rejoices in my God.

Reading 2

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good.
Refrain from every kind of evil.

May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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?”
He said:
“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.



“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.”  John 1:26–27

These are words of true humility and wisdom. John the Baptist had quite a following. Many were coming to him to be baptized, and he was gaining much notoriety. But his notoriety did not go to his head. Instead, he understood his role of preparing the way for “the one who is coming.” He understood that he needed to decrease as Jesus began His public ministry. And, thus, he humbly points others to Jesus.

In this passage, John was speaking to the Pharisees. They were clearly envious of John’s popularity and questioned him about who he was. Was he the Christ? Or Elijiah? Or the Prophet? John denied all of that and identified himself as one who is not worthy to even untie the sandal straps of the one who is coming after him. Thus, John sees himself as the “unworthy one.”

But it is this humility that makes John truly great. Greatness does not come by self-elevation, or self-promotion. Greatness comes solely by fulfilling the will of God. And, for John, the will of God was to baptize and to point others to Him Who was coming after him.

It’s also important to note that John said to the Pharisees that they “do not recognize” the one who is coming after him. In other words, those who are filled with pride and self-righteousness are blind to the truth. They cannot see beyond themselves, which is an incredible lack of wisdom.

Reflect, today, upon your calling to imitate these virtues of St. John the Baptist. Do you see your duty in life as one that is singularly focused upon putting your eyes on Christ and pointing others to Him? Do you humbly recognize that it is Jesus Who must increase and that you are nothing more than His unworthy servant? If you can seek to serve the will of God with complete humility, you also will be truly wise. And like through John, many will come to know Christ because of your holy service.

Lord, fill me with true humility. May I know and believe with all my heart that I am unworthy of the incredible life of grace You have given to me. But in that humble realization, give me the grace I need to serve You with all my heart so that others may come to know You through me.  Jesus, I trust in You.