Mass ReadingsLiturgical Readings for : Sunday, 17th December, 2023
Third Sunday of Advent
As we journey in Advent and look forward to Christmas, we celebrate our joy at the coming of the Lord. Joy, prayer and thanksgiving should characterise Christian worship. Because the man of integrity has come with good news for the poor, we can exult for joy. But his coming will mean that we also will practice justice and integrity.
(Reflection by Fr. John Cullen for the This Sunday of Advent can be found below the Readings.)
A reading from the prophet Isaiah 61:1-2. 10-11
I exult for joy in the Lord.
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken;
to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison; to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord,
‘I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God,
for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation,
he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity,
like a bridegroom wearing his wreath,
like a bride adorned in her jewels.
‘For as the earth makes fresh things grow,
as a garden makes seeds spring up,
so will the Lord make both integrity and praise spring up in the sight of the nations.’
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Responsorial Psalm Lk 1:46-50, 53-54 R Is 61:10
Response My soul rejoices in my God.
1. My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her nothingness; henceforth all ages will call me blessed. Response
2. The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him. Response
3. He fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant, remembering his mercy. Response
A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians 5:16-24
May you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord
Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God, because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.
Never try to suppress the Spirit or treat the gift of prophecy with contempt;
think before you do anything – hold on to what is good and avoid every form of evil.
May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has called you and he will not fail you.
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Gospel Acclamation Is 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor.
The Lord be with you And with your spirit.
A reading from the Gospel according to John 1:6-8. 19 -28 Glory to you, O Lord
A reading from the holy Gospel according to
There stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me.
A man came, sent by God. His name was John.
He came as a witness as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light, only a witness to speak for the light.
This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?‘
he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ’.
‘Well then,’ they asked ‘are you Elijah?’ ‘I am not‘ he said.
‘Are you the Prophet?‘ He answered, ‘No’.
So they said to him, ‘Who are you?
We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?’
So John said,
‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied:
a voice that cries in the wilderness: Make a straight way for the Lord’.
Now these men had been sent by the Pharisees, and they put this further question to him,
‘Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ, and not Elijah, and not the prophet?‘
John replied, ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you –
the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap’.
This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, where John was baptising.
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Fr John Cullen’s Advent Reflection
Third Sunday of Advent – Dec 17th
‘Among you stands one who you do not know’ (John 1:26)
The terms ‘multi-faith’ and ‘multi-cultural’ go hand in hand. They are an accurate description of present-day society across our world. The fact is obvious in many cities and towns. A friend of mine is a parish priest in a north- London suburb, thought it would be a good idea to have the gospel of Pentecost Sunday read in the different languages of his parishioners. He began to count. When he got to forty-five different languages, he abandoned the project! In parts of London the language count is 178.
I met a married couple from Nigeria who worked on night duty in Roscommon hospital. One Sunday morning, I was getting ready for the early Mass. They came in to talk to me. They were shattered and fatigued. They asked to be excused from the Mass. Then they asked me a startling request, if I would read and explain the Word of God for that particular Sunday. (it was John 1:26: Among you stands one who you do not know) They said that hearing this Word instead of going to Mass, would nourish and sustain them as their prayer for that day. Their hidden witness preached and lived the Gospel for me that day.
Advent celebrates our search for meaning, purpose and wholeness. It is succinctly put as our search for God and, conversely, God’s search for us. Our search is led and radically changed by Jesus Christ, born of the Chosen People, who does not merely speak ‘in the name of God’ but he is God himself speaking his eternal Word made flesh.
Our Catholic and Christian faith should not be defined or understood by what it is not. It is not a narrow denomination or a breakaway movement. It is a gifted response to a revealed truth – a truth which possesses it, and not a truth which any Catholic can ever pretend to possess fully. The anguish that has scarred innocent lives the Church for decades is a painful festering wound. The Church forgot the truth of today’s gospel. Our Advent journey is about waiting, wonder, welcome, prayer, preparation, penance and promise. Advent celebrates with joy on this rejoicing Sunday that among us stands One who you do not know.
The Scripture Texts are taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright 1966, by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Fr John Cullen is Parish Priest of Ahascraigh, Ballinasloe, Co Galway and Editor of Intercom Magazine, is the writer of these Advent Reflections 2020 published by Messenger Publications c/f www.messenger.ie/bookshop . He is the Parish Priest of Ahascraigh, Ballinasloe, Co Galway and Editor of Intercom Magazine.