Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above,
like gentle rain let the skies drop it down.
Let the earth open and salvation bud forth;
let justice also spring up!
Isaiah: 45

Creighton University Online Ministries
Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer
Third Week of Advent: Dec.17 - 23, 2017

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Third Week of Advent

The Third Sunday of Advent offers us more of the promise. The words used by the prophet Isaiah to describe God's vindication are the ones Jesus points to as describing his own mission: “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.”

We continue to focus on the first readings in this first part of Advent. From the Book of Numbers, we have the proclamation that “a star shall advance from Jacob...” Zephaniah is the prophet of impending doom, if the people don't abandon their idolatry. But this week we read about consoling healing, “on that day,” when the Lord comes. Isaiah's message is full of promise: “Turn to me and be safe ... for I am God; there is no other!” God promises us, “with great tenderness I will take you back,” and “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

On Saturday, we reach the December 17th and in these last eight days of Advent the focus returns to the gospels with stories from Jesus' family in the time before he was born. In Matthew's genealogy, we see the ancestors of Jesus.

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we read Luke's Gospel of the Annunciation, the moment when a troubled Mary is told she has found favor with God and she will conceive and bear a son. She questions: “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” Then declaring herself the handmaiden of the Lord, she accepts: “May it be done to me according to your word.”

 

Daily Prayer This Week

This third week of Advent, begins with Gaudete (rejoice!) Sunday. Our daily prayer continues to allow us to become much more concrete about naming our desires and preparing the way for the Lord. We begin this week with joy, knowing that our celebration of all the ways our Lord comes to us is getting nearer.

In these familiar readings is an invitation to us to ask again for help, perhaps especially in dealing with our fears. On Tuesday we hear God's message to us Isaiah: “Fear not. You shall not be put to shame.” Fear can stop us from asking God for the very help we need in our lives.

In the midst of what our culture tells us should be a picture-perfect holiday season, we can step back and get in touch with our fears and ask God to help us deal with the relationships we are afraid of, the family tensions that make us apprehensive and the stress that can take us out of the spirit of Advent reflection. If we pause for just a minute, we can feel in our hearts that Jesus is saying gently to us each day: “Do not be afraid.”

These very busy days can still be a time for us to focus our desires, perhaps each morning at the side of our bed, while in the shower or while going about our daily errands. We can ask God to remind us again that what we are doing in our daily lives is touched by the sacred because God is present in even the most mundane tasks.

“Lord, let me place my trust in you. I get so independent and think I need to fix everything myself. Let me remember not to be afraid of so much and to ask you for the healing that my heart needs so badly. Give me the patience this week to deal with the relationships in my life that need mending and the forgiveness that I can give others and that I need so badly myself. Be with me through the darkness so that I can see the light that you bring to us and the joy with which you want to fill our hearts.”

We are moving toward the end of our Advent journey. Even if we don't feel like we have “started” on Advent yet, we can begin today. We are being invited: “Do not be afraid!”

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