Third Sunday of Advent (A)
December 11, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.



Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious over anything; but in all manner of prayer, let your requests be made known unto God.  Ps/. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have put an end to Jacob's captivity.

"The Introit is derived from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians (4:4) and is well adapted to the occasion. The Lord is now very close at hand, and at this announcement the heart overflows with joy. Yet this joy is in complete contrast to that to which the world gives itself up, for it is the fruit of inward peace which the Holy Spirit communicates to the soul when it remains faithful to God’s holy will" (Ildefonso Schuster).




O God, who see how your people
faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity,
enable us, we pray,
to attain the joys of so great a salvation
and to celebrate them always
with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen. (RM)

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and
the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP)

Almighty God,
you have made us and all things to serve you,
now prepare the world for your rule.
Come quickly to save us,
so that wars and violence shall end,
and your children may live in peace,
honoring one another with justice and love;
through Jesus Christ,
who lives in power with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen. (BCW)

First Reading Is 35:1-6a, 10

The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
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.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
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.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.

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 Ps 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10.

R/. Lord, come and save us.

The LORD God keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.

The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.

The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations.



O Lord, who are enthroned upon the Cherubim, stir up your might and come forth. Vs. O Shepherd of Israel, hear us, you who lead Joseph like a flock.

“The Gradual comes from Psalm lxxix, which we have already seen in the Introit of the preceding Sunday. He who sits tranquil above the Cherubim of his glory, and guides the destinies of mankind, is about to come in all his power to subdue his agelong enemy. The alleluiatic verse belongs to the same psalm.”

Second Reading Jas 5:7-10

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.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Alleluia Is 61:1 (cited in Lk 4:18)

Stir up your might, O Lord, and come to save us.

Gospel Mt 11:2-11

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ,
he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question,
"Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?"
Jesus said to them in reply,
"Go and tell John what you hear and see:
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.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me."

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?
Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine clothing?
Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out?  To see a prophet?
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
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.

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."

Reflection Questions:

How are you needing to hear the words, “Be strong.  Fear not?”

What is trying your patience these days?

What tempts you to ask, “Are you the One who is to come, or should we look for another?”

Catena Nova

John was a voice, but the Lord in the beginning was the Word. John was a voice for a time, Christ the eternal Word in the beginning. Take away the word and what is a voice? When it conveys no meaning, it is just an empty sound. A wordless voice strikes theear, but it does not make the heart grow…. Since it is difficult to distinguish the voice and the word, John himself was thought to be Christ. The voice was taken to be the Word. But the voice admitted his identity, lest he might displease the Word. I am not the Christ, he said, nor Elijah, nor the prophet. In reply to, Who are you? he said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, the voice of one breaking the silence. Prepare the way of the Lord, is as though he said: I cry out to lead him into your heart – but he will not condescend to come where I am leading, unless you prepare the way. What does to prepare the way mean, except to pray as you ought, to be humble-minded? Take an example of humility from John himself. He is thought to be the Christ, but he says he is not what people think. He does not use the mistake of others to feed his own pride. Suppose he had said: I am the Christ. How easily would he have been believed, since that was what people were thinking before he spoke! But he did not say it. He acknowledged who he was, distinguished himself from Christ, humbled himself. (St. Augustine of Hippo)

We are in Advent. We remember that a woman held in her arms a child, and that child was God. If we remember that, then we are givers of peace, we are lovers of the Beloved. We own him through love. And he owns us! the most extraordinary thing in the world is that God loves you and me!" (Catherine de Hueck Doherty)

If you…are preparing to commemorate the Incarnation of the Word in loving, watchful expectation, today’s happy announcement will resound in your ears more joyfully than ever: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice... the Lord is nigh….” For the soul who waits for Jesus and seeks Him alone, sincerely and ardently, with lively desire and love, there can be only one motive for its joy, to know that Jesus is near, nearer with each day….The more a soul concentrates its desires and affections on God, the more it will be freed from earthly cares. It will no longer be troubled about anything, knowing that only one thing is necessary, “to seek God,” and that in God it will find everything it needs. Hence to draw near to God, is to find not only true joy, but also peace. In Him it has everything, and God alone suffices (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene)

Christians are to grow in their vocation as Christ’s messengers, preachers of peace and of the good news.  The Lord is near at hand; not many words, not the loud strife of action, only peaceful living, indestructible peace of heart, quiet joy that give its light to the face have any effect (Aemiliana Löhr)

[T]he joy that Christians have is both a gift and a responsibility….All that they have is intended for those who have not. They must be affirmative, positive people, so that the negaters, the fault-finders, those who smell ideology everywhere, may meet with a resistance against which their criticism will smash itself to pieces. Amidst all the fear that characterizes our time, we Christians are summoned to live in joy and to communicate joy—joy in spite of fear, joy in the midst of fear….Nor is this an artificially produced joy but one that is simply a gift from God. It alone can change hearts and hence conditions (Hans Urs von Balthasar).

It is a terrifying thing to have been born: I mean, to find oneself, without having willed it, swept irrevocably along on a torrent of fearful energy which seems as though it wished to destroy everything it carries with it. What I want, my God, is that by a reversal of forces which you alone can bring about, my terror in face of the nameless changes destined to renew my being may be turned into an overflowing joy at being transformed into you….For me, my God, all joy and all achievement, the very purpose of my being and all my love of life, all depend on this one basic vision of the union between yourself and the universe. Let others, fulfilling a function more august than mine, proclaim your splendours as pure Spirit; as for me, dominated as I am by a vocation which springs from the inmost fibres of my being, I have no desire, I have no ability, to proclaim anything except the innumerable prolongations of your incarnate Being in the world of matter; I can preach only the mystery of your flesh, you the Soul shining forth though all that surrounds us.  (Teilhard de Chardin)

When we think of the people in our lives and public figures who affect us that we sincerely think are “a brood of vipers,” do we want the wrath they are fleeing to fall on them? Are there people we think should be chopped down and thrown into the fire? If we harbor the same vengeful feelings, we are scandalized by these people. How then do we feel about a preaching ministry where the poor and the peacemakers are blessed and we are asked to forgive those who scandalize us? Are we scandalized at the idea of renouncing vengeance against these people? If so, then we are taking offense at Jesus and we are not blessed. The earnest moral sense and integrity of John the Baptist represents the best humanity has to offer but “the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” That is, as soon as we take even the smallest of baby steps in the way of forgiveness and not being scandalized by seriously scandalous people, we are better than the best humanity can offer. There’s nothing to be proud of here. Jesus healed the cripple when he forgave his sins. This same forgiveness heals us and gives us the strength to take these baby steps into the Kingdom of God. (Abbot Andrew Marr)


     Our minds are filled with images this time of year, aren’t they?  Some gloomy, some bright.  For example you might find yourself drawn more to the jealous King Herod of Judah . . . The unfeeling keepers of Bethlehem’s inns . . . Dickens’ miserly Scrooge . . .  Dr. Seuss’ fanciful Grinch who Stole Christmas.  Or how about the gloomiest of all: the crusty playwright George Bernard Shaw, who penned the following cynical lines: “[Christmas] is an indecent subject; a cruel gluttonous subject; a drunken, disorderly subject; a wasteful, disastrous subject; a wicked, cadging, lying, filthy, blasphemous, and demoralizing subject.”

     See, Christmas never lacks its anti-heroes, who stand in contrast to those who take no offense (cf. G) at this season’s cheer.  And hopefully some of us are drawn to such brighter figures like Mary and Joseph, awestruck shepherds, adoring magi, St. Nicholas, Salvation Army bellringers, and children with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads.  But I know the humbug in each of us can sometimes identify with those other types I mentioned first.

     In fact, this time of year magnifies the pain of many people. The burdens of sickness, bereavement, age, poverty, broken relationships, loneliness, and depression all seem much heavier when others are crying, Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice! (Entrance Antiphon)  Psychiatric wards, police logs, city morgues, and liquor stores, all do a booming business as those left out in the Christmas cold seek relief for their numbness of heart. (I see that New York State for the first time is allowing liquor stores to be open on Christmas Day).

     In the midst of this, however, the prophet Isaiah booms his promise: The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.  They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song (I).  Now you might think those words were first addressed to a pretty happy crowd.  But they weren’t.  These words were first spoken to a people in exile, devastated by the loss of all that made life worthwhile.  Reduced to the condition of slaves, separated from home and family, and made to dwell in a foreign land, this people despaired of ever seeing the glory of the LORD, the splendor of [their] God, again (I).  So how full of consolation must these words have been when first spoken to a captive nation!

     And they can be so for us as well.  For the experience of “exile” is not merely of historical interest, happening to a people far removed from us in time and space, and therefore, irrelevant.  For is it not true that many of us dwell captive in a desert?  Our bodies held hostage by disease, frailty, lust?  Our minds by narrowness, bigotry, doubt?  Our wills by fear, addiction, sin?  Our hearts by hardness, selfishness, greed?  Our relationships by grudges, distrust, and fear?  Oh yes, indeed, we all know what it means to be in exile, held captive by our own or others’ cruelty, chained through our own fault, or simply the circumstances of life.  Think of the Ukrainian people living in literal darkness and cold this winter owing to a latter-day Herod — exiles in their own country joined to those who have fled abroad.  We are all bound, and crave the liberation promised by the prophet of Advent!

     Consider also the example of John the Baptist.  Cast into chains, imprisoned in mind, as well as body, by doubts that Jesus was truly the Messiah.  Apparently abandoned by God, thinking, perhaps, this was God’s way of silencing a false prophet, mistaken in such an important matter as the identity of God’s Chosen One.  This tormented soul desperately needed consolation.

     And the Lord Jesus provided it.  Quoting the prophet Isaiah, he tells John’s disciples their teacher was not wrong, for 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 (G).  The works of the Christ (G) have surely come upon the earth.

     And we can know these mighty deeds too, which free us from every form of oppression: Blindness to God’s presence can be cured by faith’s vision.  Lameness, which makes us limp through life on unsteady feet, can be healed by confidence in God. Deafness to the Word of God, challenging us to reform our lives, can be remedied by repentance.  Those struck dead by mortal sin can have life restored to them in Christ Jesus.  The poor of spirit, with hearts shrunken by sorrow or bitterness, can be enriched with the treasure of Christ’s love.

     So whatever weighs upon us, confining us to exile, these words of consolation, coming from the depths of the Advent season, can strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak (I).  Hear them say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!  Here is your God, [who] comes with vindication; With divine recompense, he comes to save you . . . 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 (I).  With James then, take as an example of hardship and patience . . . the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord (II).  Who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Amen.



Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that we may be instruments of hope, bringing light to the darkness of society, to those who are suffering, and to those who lost purpose and meaning in life.

For greater gratitude and appreciation: that through the reflections of Advent, we may have a deeper love for our spouse, family members, and all who are significant in our lives. 

For all who struggle with doubt: that God will open their eyes and hearts to Jesus and the marvelous things which God does within and around them.

For all who suffer for their faith, for persecuted Christians, prisoners of conscience, and those who suffer discrimination: that God will sustain them, give them hope and relieve their suffering.

For all government officials: that the Spirit will guide their work, help them to recognize the truth in all the issues before them, and open them to new ways of addressing the issues of immigration, poverty, and violence.

For healing of our bodies, minds, attitudes, and spirits: that God will heal and make whole all the sick, wounded, and broken areas within us so that we may more fully be instruments of God’s love.

For all who go without daily essentials: that God will provide for their needs as refugees or people fleeing violence, open doors for them, give them strength to face their challenges, and move the hearts of many to assist them.

God of glory and compassion,
at your touch the wilderness blossoms,
broken lives are made whole,
and fearful hearts grow strong in faith.
Open our eyes to your presence
and awaken our hearts to sing your praise.
To all who long for your Son’s return
grant perseverance and patience,
that we may announce in word and deed
the good news of the kingdom.
We ask this through him whose coming is certain,
whose day draws near:
your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Chant


Thou hast blessed, Lord, thy land; thou hast brought the house of Jacob back from captivity and forgiven the sins of thy people.

“The Offertory is taken, like the Introit, from Psalm lxxxiv. The coming of our Lord on earth is the blessing promised by Jehovah to Abraham; it is freedom from slavery, it is the remission of sins.”

Offertory Hymn


Long is our winter, dark is our night;

O come, set us free, O saving Light!

Come set us free, O saving Light,

O come dwell among us, O saving Light!

Communion Chant


Say: "Take courage, you who are fainthearted, and do not fear; behold, our God will come and he will save us." Ps/. The desert and the parched land will exult; *the steppe will rejoice and bloom.

“In the Communion comes a last invitation to timid souls : “ Fear not: it is no longer a prophet, a lawgiver, a scribe,as under the old Covenant, but God himself who comes to save you ” (Isa. xxxv, 4).”

Closing Hymn


The desert shall rejoice

and blossom as a rose:

It shall blossom abundantly

and rejoice with praise and singing.

The desert….

for the ears of the deaf shall hear

and the blind, their eyes shall be opened.

The desert…

for the tongue of the mute shall sing

and the lame will dance with gladness.

The desert…

for the ground will become a pool

and the dry land springs of water.

The desert…

as the ransomed return to God

and come singing back to Zion.

The desert…

unto Zion we come with joy

for our God has come to save us.