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Today is Sunday, December 15, 2019

Catholic Mass Readings for December 15 2019, Third Sunday of Advent, Year A


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Today’s Catholic Readings for December 15 2019 and Gospel – Lectionary: 7

1st Reading – Isaiah 35:1-6A, 10


1 The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.

2 They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.

3 Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak,

4 say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; 6 then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. 10 Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalms 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10


R. (cf. Is 35:4) Lord, come and save us.
or:
R. Alleluia


6 The LORD God keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
7 The LORD sets captives free.
R. Lord, come and save us.
or:
R. Alleluia.


8 The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
9A the LORD protects strangers.
R. Lord, come and save us.
or:
R. Alleluia.


9BC The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
10 The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations.
R. Lord, come and save us.
or:
R. Alleluia.


2nd Reading – James 5:7-10


7 Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.

8 You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.

9 Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.

10 Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Alleluia - Isaiah 61:1 (Cited in Luke 4:18)


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
1 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – Matthew 11:2-11


2 When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus

3 with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

4 Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:

5 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.

6 And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

7 As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?

8 Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.

9 Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.

10 This is the one about whom it is written: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.

11 Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

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Tomorrow's Catholic Daily Readings for December 16 2019, Monday

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Catholic Daily Reflections - Purification By The Fire of God – Matthew 11:2-11


John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Again, this Sunday, we are given the glorious witness of St. John the Baptist. This passage above is from Year C of the liturgical cycle, but Year A & B also present us with John the Baptist.

In this sermon of John, he says that Jesus will come and baptize “with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The image of being baptized “with fire” is a good one to reflect upon. It especially reveals to us the deep purification Jesus desires for our souls.

What does it mean to be purified? For one thing, purification of our soul hurts. But it hurts in a sweet sort of way. Turning from sin and growing closer to God requires great sacrifice and surrender. And it requires that we allow God to do powerful things within us. And the most powerful thing God wants to do is purify us.

Our Catholic faith reveals to us the reality of Purgatory after we die. Purgatory is said to be a place of much spiritual pain, but again, in a sweet sort of way. It’s painful in the sense that we are stripped of all that we hold on to that God wants us to let go of.

It’s painful in the sense that we endure a complete transformation of who we are and what we love. We learn to love God and God alone. And in the embrace of our love of God, we come to love all people.

It’s also sweet because, as we are purified, we grow infinitely closer to God and grow in holiness. This lifts the burden of sin and frees us to love as we ought.

But our purification ought not start only in Purgatory. We are all called to enter into that process of purification here and now. We are called to heed the words of John the Baptist today and repent of all that keeps us from holiness of life.

Reflect, today, upon the purification to which God may be calling you. What is it that you hold on to that He wants you free of? Commit yourself to the purifying fire of God’s love and let that love cleanse you in this Advent season.

Prayer: Lord, I do long to have my soul purified by You. I do desire holiness of life. Help me to begin this process here and now so that I can begin to experience the joy and freedom You have in store for me. Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.

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