Sunday Readings and Reflections

The Preaching of Saint John the Baptist by Alessandro Allori (1535-1607)

Sunday, December 13 
Third Sunday of Advent 

Roman Ordinary calendar

St. Lucy


Book of Isaiah 61,1-2a.10-11.

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 lowly, 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, to comfort all who mourn; 
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. 

Psalm: Luke 1,46-48.49-50.53-54.

Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; 
my spirit rejoices in God my savior. 
For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant; 
from this day all generations will call me blessed. 

The Almighty has done great things for me, 
and holy is his name. 
He has mercy on those who fear him 
in every generation. 

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 , 
remembering his promise of mercy, 

First Letter to the Thessalonians 5,16-24.

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 himself 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. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 1,6-8.19-28.

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 Messiah.” 
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 Messiah 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. 


Saint Augustine (354-430) 
Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church 
Sermons on the Gospel of Saint John, no.2, §5-7

“He came for testimony to testify to the Light”

In what way has Christ come? He appeared as man. But because he was a man such that God was concealed within him, a special kind of man was sent before him to make known that he was more than man, that he was the Messiah (…) Who was he, this man who had to give testimony to the Light in this way? The man, John, was truly remarkable, of great merit and outstanding grace, high above all others. Admire him in the way we would admire a mountain: the mountain would remain in shadow so long as the light did not come to envelop it – “He was not the Light”. Don’t take the mountain for the light; don’t break yourself against it, far less find help in it.

So what should we admire, then? The mountain, but only as a mountain. Rise up as far as him who lights up this mountain which was erected to become the first to receive the sun’s rays and to reflect them back to your eyes (…) We say of our eyes, too, that they are lights and yet, if we don’t light the lamp at night or if the sun does not rise by day, our eyes are open in vain. John himself was in the dark before he was enlightened; he only became light through this enlightenment. If he had not received the rays of this Light he would have remained as dark as other are (…).

And what about the Light itself? Where is it? “The true Light which enlightens everyone coming into the world”? (Jn 1:9). If he enlightens everyone then he also enlightened John, through whom he wished to be manifested (…) He came for the sick of mind, for wounded hearts, for souls whose eyes are weak (…), people unable to see aright. He covered John with his beams. By testifying that he himself had been enlightened, John made known He who enlightens, He who gives clarity, He who is the source of every gift.

Traditional Latin Mass Readings for Gaudete Sunday, Third Sunday of Advent

EPISTLE Philippians 4: 4-7

Fratres, Gaudéte in Dómino semper: íterum dico, gaudéte. Modéstia vestra nota sit ómnibus homínibus: Dóminus prope est. Nihil sollíciti sitis: sed in omni oratióne, et obsecratióne, cum gratiárum actióne, petitiónes vestræ innotéscant apud Deum. Et pax Dei, quæ exsúperat omnem sensum, custódiat corda vestra, et intelligéntias vestras, in Christo Jesu Dómino nostro.

Brethren, Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL Psalms 79: 2, 3

Qui sedes, Dómine, super Chérubim, éxcita poténtiam tuam et veni. Qui regis Israël, inténde: Qui dedúcis velut ovem Joseph.

Thou, O Lord, that sits upon the Cherubim, stir up Thy might and come. Give ear, O Thou that rules Israel: that leads Joseph like a sheep.

LESSER ALLELUIA

Allelúja, allelúja. Excíta Dómine poténtiam tuam, et veni, ut salvos fácias nos. Allelúja.

Alleluia, alleluia. Stir up, O Lord, Thy might, and come to save us. Alleluia.

GOSPEL John 1: 19-28

In illo témpore: Misérunt Judǽi ab Jerosólymis sacerdótes et levítas ad Joánnem ut interrogárent eum: Tu quis es? Et conféssus est, et non negávit, et conféssus est: Quia non sum ego Christus. Et interrogavérunt eum: Quid ergo? Elías es tu? Et dixit: Non sum. Prophéta es tu? Et respóndit: Non. Dixérunt ergo ei: Quis es, ut respónsum demus his qui misérunt nos? Quid dicis de te ipso? Ait: Ego vox clamántis in desérto: Dirígite viam Dómini, sicut dixit Isaías prophéta. Et qui missi fúerant erant ex pharisǽis. Et interrogavérunt eum, et dixérunt ei: Quid ergo baptízas, si tu non es Christus, neque Elías, neque prophéta? Respóndit eis Joánnes, dicens: Ego baptízo in aqua: médius autem vestrum stetit, quem vos nescítis. Ipse est, qui post me ventúrus est: qui ante me factus est cujus ego non sum dignus ut solvam ejus corrígiam calceaménti. Hæc in Bethánia facta sunt trans Jordánem, ubi erat Joánnes baptízans.

At that time the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the Prophet? And he answered: No. They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not. The same is He that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

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