On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces;

Isaiah 25

Creighton University Online Ministries
Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer
Third Week of Advent: Dec. 11-17, 2016

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Praying Advent

The Third Week of Advent

The Third Sunday of Advent repeats an Isaiah reading from earlier in the week, filled with promise, healing and a hope for our longing: "Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing.... They will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee." In Matthew's Gospel, John the Baptist hears of Jesus' work and sends a message to his cousin: "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?" Jesus replies that his
work speaks for itself. "The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them."

Monday is the Memorial of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the Americas. Tuesday is the Memorial of Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr. Wednesday is the Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church.

We continue to focus on the first readings in this first part of Advent. From the Book of Numbers, we have the proclamation that "a star shall advance from Jacob..." Zephaniah is the prophet of impending doom, if the people don't abandon their idolatry. But this week we read about consoling healing, "on that day," when the Lord comes. Isaiah's message is full of promise: "Turn to me and be safe ... for I am God; there is no other!" "Fear not, you shall not be put to shame ... with great tenderness I will take you back ... My love shall never leave you."

Gospels are chosen to show Jesus as the fulfillment of these promises: his question to the Pharisees who challenge his authority; the parable of the two sons; the Baptizer's question about whether Jesus is the promised one; the fulfillment Jesus points to; Jesus' praise of John the Baptist; Jesus points to his works as his testimony.

Saturday is December 17th, which begins the second part of Advent. In these last eight days of Advent the focus returns to the gospels with stories from Jesus' family in the time before he was born. In Matthew's gospel, we read the genealogy, the list of Jesus' ancestors. Joseph decides to divorce the pregnant Mary until an angel appears to him in a dream, saying, "It is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her."

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we read in Matthew's Gospel about Joseph and his decision to divorce the pregnant Mary. An angel comes to Joseph: "Do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her."


Daily Prayer This Week:

This third week of Advent, our daily prayer continues to allow us to become much more concrete about naming our desires and preparing the way for the Lord. We begin this week with joy,
knowing that our celebration of all the ways our Lord comes to us is near.

For some of us, the great grace will be to ask that expectant hope - and the joy that this can bring - will fill our hearts and replace whatever is heavy or dark or sad there. We can only let our Lord bring good news to us in our own poverty, if we acknowledge that we are poor in some ways. He can only proclaim liberty and release to us if we can admit that we are captives and prisoners to so many
habits and patterns that inhibit joy.

This is a week of recognizing ourselves, and recognizing our need for a Savior - a wonderful way to prepare for Christmas.

We can only turn to our God and trust in the safety we find accepting our God as the only god of our lives, if we first can name the place in which we are in danger from the choices we are making.

We can surrender our fear of being put to shame by humbly coming face to face with the un-humble person we can sometimes be. The depths of gratitude and joy come when we can experience the tenderness with which our Lord keeps taking us back.

This is a wonderful week to examine our consciences as we let our daily, prayerfilled background moments interact with some of the places in our daily lives in which we discover the need for mercy and peace. Wherever we encounter some experience of darkness or fear, some struggle with faith or hope, some discouragement about my own generosity or freedom, it is there that we have an opportunity to pause, in the briefest way and pray, "Come, Lord
Jesus; come and visit me here, in this place." Preparing to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, individually or in common, can be a powerful Advent religious experience. And the one who forgives us deeply desires to heal us and give us his peace.

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