Our Lady Queen of Heaven
Catholic Church, Harwich, Essex

Second, Third and Fourth Sundays in Advent (Year C) 5, 12, 19 December 2021

Second Sunday of Advent Luke 3:1-6

One of the great characters of the Advent season is John the Baptist, the prophet who prepared the way for Jesus. Luke gives an extraordinarily detailed list of the public officials who were in office when John and Jesus began their work and in this way they enter the real world of history, a world in which power and position dominate events. John’s work is to travel around the region near the Jordan river proclaiming ‘a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’. The whole of creation is described as getting ready for the coming of the Lord.  Luke makes clear that the Messiah comes to offer salvation to all nations.

How does the preaching of John the Baptist speak to me today?

Do I welcome the coming of Christ as a gift for all the people on earth?

Pray for the wisdom to see that God still cares for the real world of our day.

Pray for the zeal of John the Baptist to bear witness to Christ as he did.

Third Sunday of Advent Luke 3:10-18

Luke‘s gospel gives prominence to John the Baptist as a social reformer. The question ‘What must we do then?’ resonates through this reading. We are called upon to share with the hungry and with the needy, to act with justice and to avoid violence, john speaks of the mission of the Messiah, that he will wage battle against the forces of evil. The baptism he brings will demand a choice between working for goodness, truth and justice, or working for lesser and contrary aims. The overwhelming atmosphere here is of joyous anticipation of the one who will bring the good news, and who is the good news, the one who will bring healing, forgiveness and new life. We sense already the profound joy of the coming of the saviour.

What demands of justice and non-violence does the gospel bring me today?

Do I welcome the coming of Christ as good news in the deepest sense?

Pray for those who strive for a just distribution of the world’s riches.

Pray for the grace to ‘live simply so that others can simply live’.

Fourth Sunday of Advent Luke1:39-44

Today’s gospel passage is unique because it presents a meeting of the two mothers, Mary and Elizabeth, the deeper significance is that it is also the first meeting between the Messiah and the one who will prepare the way for him. The child in the womb of Elizabeth recognises the coming of the Lord.  What John will do during his adult life, preparing the people for the coming of the Messiah, is anticipated here in the tender meeting of the two mothers. As we continue the reading of the gospel beyond today’s passage we hear the words of Mary’s hymn of thanksgiving, the Magnificat..

What can we learn from the behaviour and attitude of Mary and Elizabeth?

How ill the coming of Christ change me’

Pray for all mothers that they may welcome the children of their womb.

Pray for a deep spirit of thanksgiving for God’s goodness.

Fr. Adrian Graffy