Read this week's guidelines and be nourished as you journey with our Community in Cebu.
Eternity stepped into time.
- to value the time given to us in the Church for the preparation and of change.
- to know more deeply who is the one coming.
- to celebrate with joy the mystery of Christmas.
Objective of the week:
- to value the time given to us by the Church this Advent to prepare the way of the Lord with our lives and to take on the steps for conversion.
TIME is God’s work. Man lives in time and feels measured by it. It is the necessary space in which we are made into persons and are allowed to welcome the Salvation that God has done in human history in our own lives and in our own history. This is the time of Advent. Eternity will step into time and we are invited to prepare the way for Him.
It is a time of joyful expectation. It is a time when everyone will see the Lord’s splendor, his greatness and power in the manger. It is a time to be strong and not to be discouraged. It is a time when everyone will shout for joy and be filled with hope because the Lord is opening the way for everyone to live their lives in joy forever.
So it is a time not to condemn because of what we saw of this year, but to comfort God’s children as we start this Liturgical year; to encourage each one and to prepare the lives of the people a clear way for the Lord. Let us not be afraid but to exclaim, “What marvelous things we have seen today.”What is the Lord doing this time? He is coming and He is looking for the lost ones.
Advent as well is the right time that God provided for us to change and to experience the joy of this season. The challenge is that many times we don’t recognize the value of this time nor how to live it.
They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
Isaiah 35:1-10 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 dumb will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. 7 The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water; The abode where jackals lurk will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus. 8 A highway will be there, called the holy way; No one unclean may pass over it, nor fools go astray on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it. It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk. 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.
It is the right time to see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Let us wait for His coming not passively but with vigilance and attentiveness of His daily wonderful work in time.
What marvelous things we have seen today!
(Memorial of St. Nicholas – Sta. Claus)
Luke 5:17-26 17 One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. 18 And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set (him) in his presence. 19 But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. 20 When he saw their faith, he said, "As for you, your sins are forgiven." 21 Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?" 22 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, "What are you thinking in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins''-- he said to the man who was paralyzed, "I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home." 25 He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. 26 Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, "We have seen incredible things today."
Jesus comes to bring forgiveness and to make the lame, paralyzed in life to stand up again. This is what the Lord is doing.
Comfort my people and prepare a way for me.
(Memorial of St. Ambrose)
Isaiah 40:1-11 Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. 3 A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! 4 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; The rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. 5 Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all mankind shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. 6 A voice says, "Cry out!" I answer, "What shall I cry out?" "All mankind is grass, and all their glory like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower wilts, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it. (So then, the people is the grass.) 8 Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever." 9 Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! 10 Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. 11 Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.
He comes to bring comfort to those who are in need. He invites us this season not just to be gloomy but that our expectation be filled with hope.
He comes to give strength to the weary
(The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Isaiah 40:28-31 28 Do you not know or have you not heard? The LORD is the eternal God, creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint nor grow weary, and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny. 29 He gives strength to the fainting; for the weak he makes vigor abound. 30 Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, 31 They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.
Matthew 11:28-30 28 'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.'
Jesus is coming to open a way of life where everyone find rest and learn how to live as he lived. This is the time to approach Him more closer and to follow Him giving strength to those in need.
The time of this generation
(Memorial of St. Juan Diego)
Matthew 11:16-19 16 'What comparison can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place: 17 We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn't dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn't be mourners. 18 'For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He is possessed." 19 The Son of man came, eating and drinking, and they say, "Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners." Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.'
God gives us the time to do as we ought to. But we don’t recognize and follow all what we are supposed to do. “We sang joyful songs, but you don’t dance. We sing sad songs but you don’t cry.” This is what is happening around us. Let us prepare ourselves by changing our ways to the ways of the Lord and be able to respond to Him in the right time.
He searches the lost ones and rejoices with them.
Matthew 18:12-14 12 'Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray? 13 In truth I tell you, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all. 14 Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.
Jesus comes as a shepherd searching those who are lost and brings them to the joy of being found by Him. Let us be one in the looking for those who are lost and learn how to rejoice with them.
3rd Sunday of Advent
Verbum Dei Christmas Family Day
1st Reading – Isaiah 35:1-6&10
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 146
2nd Reading – James 5:7-10
Gospel – Matthew 11:2-11