Third Sunday of Advent
Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Isaiah 35:1-6,10; Psalm 146:6-10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11)
Allowing the Eucharist to Transform Us
They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. (Isaiah 35:2)
Thinking about the Eucharist always brings certain Scripture passages to mind. Maybe it’s the story about the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). It’s a synopsis of the Mass as it describes the way that Jesus energized two disciples as he explained the Scripture to them and then how he revealed himself when he blessed and broke bread with them.
Or what about the story of the multiplication of the loaves (John 6:1-13)? It’s such an exciting miracle! Jesus blessed bread, gave it to everyone, and satisfied their hunger—both physically and spiritually.
And who can forget the way St. Paul described the Mass of the first Christians? “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16).
In every instance, the people who ate the bread were moved. Their eyes were opened. They caught a glimpse of “the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God” (Isaiah 35:2). And that glimpse caused them to rejoice.
Today’s first reading tells how the Israelites will rejoice over the salvation God will bring them. It speaks about God opening blind eyes and deaf ears. It speaks about weak hands and knees being made strong. It speaks about people overcoming their fears. It speaks about a people blooming like a beautiful flower, all because the glory of God is being revealed to them.
Every time we receive the Eucharist, Jesus reveals himself to us—and that is a cause for great rejoicing! At every Mass, he comes to set us free from sin. He comes to open our eyes to his love and his glory. He helps us keep our eyes on the prize so that we will one day enter his kingdom “singing and crowned with everlasting joy” (Isaiah 35:10).
“Jesus, I rejoice in your presence. Come and fill me, Lord, with the Bread of Life.”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the readings and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- Take some time now to pray and ask for the grace to grow in Godly patience during Advent and, especially, to grow more and more in the image and likeness of Christ. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting poinIn the first reading, a Messiah is promised who will strengthen and heal the thirsty, the feeble and weak, the frightened, the blind, the deaf, the lame, the mute, and the imprisoned. In what way do you see yourself as one of these?
- Again, the responsorial psalm describes the Messiah’s actions on behalf of the oppressed, hungry, blind, strangers, fatherless, and widows. As Christ’s disciple, are there any of these that the Lord is asking you to serve during and after Advent? What about this week?
- The second reading tells us to “be patient”. Do you tend to turn to the Lord for help, wisdom, and guidance when problems arise or do you just rush ahead yourself? What can you do to be more patient in responding to situations, and to be more open and sensitive to the Lord’s leading?
- St. James also tells us not to complain or be judgmental. When you take an honest look at your thoughts during the day, how often do you fall into one of these categories? What steps can you take to improve in taking “captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)?
- In the Gospel, in response to the question, “Are you the one?” — Jesus tells John’s disciples that he is the one who has fulfilled all the messianic promises. If you were asked why you believe that Jesus is the Messiah sent by God to heal us and set us free from sin and death, how would you answer?
- The meditation ends with these words: “Every time we receive the Eucharist, Jesus reveals himself to us—and that is a cause for great rejoicing! At every Mass, he comes to set us free from sin. He comes to open our eyes to his love and his glory. He helps us keep our eyes on the prize so that we will one day enter his kingdom ‘singing and crowned with everlasting joy’ (Isaiah 35:10).” What steps can you take, prior to and during Mass, to make these words a greater reality in your life?
- Take some time now to pray and ask for the grace to experience more deeply the Lord’s transforming work, as you receive the Eucharist, the Bread of Life. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.