The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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December 7, 2001 Issue
Summoned to Serve

Praying with Sunday's Scriptures

Editor's note: To help small faith-sharing groups, couples, individuals and others continue the Renew 2000 experience of praying with Sunday Scriptures, a Diocesan Faith Sharing Writing Team has prepared a monthly series using the Renew model. The series is being distributed to parish leaders and will appear in The Compass the week before that Sunday.

Dec. 16, Third Sunday of Advent, Cycle A
Reading I: Isaiah 35:1-6,10
Reading II: James 5:7-10
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11

By Jackie Staley

Summoned to Serve

Focus: Jesus came as a healing Messiah rather than as a political conqueror.

Opening Prayer: Psalm 146: 5-8

All: Happy are those whose hope is in the Lord,

Who keep faith forever, secure justice for the oppressed; give food to the hungry.

The Lord sets captives free, gives sight to the blind.

The Lord raises up those that were bowed down; the Lord loves the just.

Scripture Sharing: What thought, line or image from the Scripture readings caught your attention?

Reflection: John the Baptist had expected the Messiah to come with fiery judgment, yet Jesus came as healer of those who were blind, lame, deaf or lepers. He raised the dead and preached his good news to the poor. In other words, Jesus intervened on behalf of the least powerful who needed his saving help. How difficult it must have been for John to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the leader who was to free the chosen people from oppression, foreign domination and persecution. Yet Jesus praised the prophet John for his courage, his simplicity of life and raised him to greater responsibility, the one who had the privilege of preparing the way for the Messiah. Our lives today can reflect the works of Jesus. This very day we can continue to prepare the way for his healing in our world.

Faith Sharing

1. What works that Jesus does attract you to continue living his Way? How can you live them?

2. What image of John the Baptist stays with you as you reflect on Jesus' praise of him?

3. What thoughts, ideas or images in this gospel passage make you feel uncomfortable? Why?

4. What in this passage gives you hope? Why?

Action Response: How are you "summoned to serve"?

1. Spend 20 minutes reflecting on the meaning for you of the gospel passage of "preparing the way of the Lord."

2. Discern how you can participate in one of the saving works of Jesus to the powerless in your community. What opportunities are organized through your parish?

3. Choose one simple way you can prepare the way for Jesus' coming through your contact with those closest to you.

4. What can you do to make this gospel passage come true in your life? In your community?

Closing Prayer

Individuals offer their intentions to bring to prayer.

Our saving God, as we prepare during this Advent for Jesus' coming into our world, remind us of John the Baptist's courage and simplicity of life. May his example help us to renew our commitment as your disciples to live as heralds of your healing and concern for the powerless. Help us to be open to surprises, to growth in understanding, just as John's faith was open to accepting the unexpected, open to accepting you as Messiah. We ask this of you through our saving Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Staley is a member of the Diocesan Writing Team for Faith Sharing Sessions, 2001.)

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