Gospel Reflection | Third Sunday of Advent


Is 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 poor,
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.
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.

Jn 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 Christ.”
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 Christ 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.

Gospel Reflection

Today’s readings invite us to rejoice in Jesus, our Savior, who came to the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, the prisoners – the sinners. He came for each one of us, and He came with a mission. The mission to bring us back into communion with His Father, Our Father, and to save us from the snares of the devil who only seeks our destruction, our misery, and our downfall.

In the Gospel, we continue to hear about John the Baptist who was sent as a witness to the light - the Holy Spirit. He makes it clear that he himself is not the light. The Catechism tells us that John is “more than a prophet.” In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets.

John, while in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth, became filled with the Holy Spirit during Mary’s visitation to his mother who was already carrying Jesus in her womb. Thus, preparing him to be His witness for we can only testify to what we have witnessed.

Faced with questions from the priests and Levites, John confidently speaks the truth of who he is and what he came to do. He humbly clarifies the doubts about his purpose – I am not the one; I am just the voice.

My dear friends, may we take the opportunity this Sunday to approach Jesus with the confidence of John, humbly recognizing that our purpose is lacking without Him, open to his saving power, and willing to accept the direction and guidance of His Holy Spirit.

Please be assured of my prayers before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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