Readings and Reflection for Sunday December 12, Third Sunday of Advent

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FIRST READING      
“The Lord will exult over you with loud singing.”
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah (Zephaniah 3:14-18a)

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgements against you, he has cast out your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear evil no more. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.”

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Isaiah 12:2-3.4bcde.5-6 (R. 6)
R/. Shout, and sing for joy, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation. R/.

“Give thanks to the Lord,
call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the nations,
proclaim that his name is exalted.” R/.

“Sing praises to the Lord,
for he has done gloriously; 
let this be known  in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”   R/.

SECOND READING 
“The Lord is at hand.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians (Philippians 4:4-7)

Brethren: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA  Luke 4: 18
Alleluia. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has sent me to preach good news to the poor. Alleluia.

GOSPEL        
“What, then, shall we do?”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 3:10-18)

At that time: The multitudes asked John, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptised, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than is appointed you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, John answered them all, “I baptise you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” So, with many other exhortations, he preached good news to the people.

The Gospel of the Lord.

TODAY’S REFLECTION
Compassion is our ability to feel the pain and suffering of others. It means seeing ourselves mirrored in those whose lives are fragile for lack of food, shelter and medical care. Those who are naked, hungry, thirsty, homeless and sick experience deep joy when someone, out of a sense of compassion, care of them. Each day there are people near and far who wait for assistance so as to be able to live better lives. When compassion is shown in real ways, joy is rediscovered and celebrated. Selfishness, on the contrary, breeds sadness. Those who are selfish may have everything this world offers, yet deep down they lack the joy of giving and sharing and are thus unhappy with their life.

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