3rd Sunday of Advent – Cycle A

December 15, 2019

“Patience, People, our God is Coming.”

As presented here, it was written to follow the entrance procession, hymn, and opening greeting at Mass.  It should, of course, be adapted to fit the needs and circumstances wherever it is used.

 

Intro:              [please be seated]

CELEBRANT:         Today we hear from Isaiah that when God comes to save us, the deserts bloom, feeble hands grow strong and weak knees become firm, those whose hearts are fearful will grow strong and their fear will be gone.  Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared, the lame will leap for joy and the mute will sing.

That vision helps guide our Dominican sisters and brothers in India sent to preach God’s saving presence there as it does us today.  Let’s listen to their story.

READER 1:                In the region around Nagpur, we found young people illiterate, struggling to survive by begging and scouring dumps for rags or anything else they could recycle and sell.  They had no idea of an education that could open their eyes to the larger world and its possibilities, that could offer them a future beyond the daily deserts of poverty that were their world.

READER 2:                So our Dominican Family started a small center where we taught literacy and gathered simple books and reading materials – stories, general knowledge, history, hobbies and life skills, toys and more.  We gathered things that we thought might open their eyes, spark their interest, make them curious, speak to their needs, and begin to open up new worlds for them.  We began small.  It took patience, but, slowly, young people came and did begin to see and get excited.

READER 1:                Word spread. The more people who heard about what we were offering, the more people wanted those same opportunities. We heard them and began to open more centers around the region with literacy training, educational resources, and whatever supports the young people might need to help them get informal and formal education and a chance to flourish.

READER 2:                More people came to us sick from working on and living on the dumps.  So we began to provide some basic medicines and healthcare where we could.  We started teaching some elements of family hygiene.  Eventually we began health, nutrition and hygiene training programs to prepare young people to go back to their villages and bring healing to the sick there.

READER 1:                It is also true that there are many, many young people trapped in abusive situations who are effectively mute.  They have no way to speak out and call for help.  So we have now set up CHILDLINE, India’s first 24-hour, toll free, emergency outreach service for children in need of care and protection.  It gives them a voice, linking them to long-term services for their care and rehabilitation.

READER 2:                People came to us who had been treated as the lepers of their society, looked down on, marginalized, treated as worthless. So we began efforts to develop social skills, build self-esteem and confidence, promote creative expression and teach life skills that could provide them with good livelihoods and a dignified life.  As a result, many of them are now blossoming!  Those who had identified with society’s judgment of them, whose only expectation had been that they would limp through life as desperately poor beggars, are now walking proudly and with dignity into productive and happy lives.

CELEBRANT:         When God comes to save us, the deserts bloom, feeble hands grow strong and weak knees become firm, those whose hearts are fearful grow strong and their fear is gone.  Then the eyes of the blind are opened, the ears of the deaf are cleared, the lame leap for joy and the mute can sing.

As we begin our liturgy in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Dominican family in India, let’s enter into the quiet of our spirits….

Asking that God open our eyes to the poor and marginalized among us, clear our ears so we may hear the cry of the poor, strengthen our hands and knees and hearts that we may help those limping through life to leap with joy and those made mute by their oppressive situations to sing with gratitude to God.

Lord, have mercy….          Christ, have mercy….        Lord, have mercy….

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins, and bring us together to the fullness of life in peace.  Amen

In solidarity with our sisters and brothers in India, with faith and hope in God’s promises, we prayerfully relight this candle of promise, this candle of hope that, in the light of Christ, we will be alert to Christ’s coming in our lives and ready to respond.

[1stAdvent Wreath candle is lit]

And in solidarity, we relight this second candle of promise, our candle of prayerful hope that God will lead all peoples of the world back to peace with each other and with all creation, peace with justice, protection, healing and joy for all.

[2ndAdvent Wreath candle is lit]

And in solidarity, we light a third candle of promise this week, a candle of rejoicing and celebration at the coming of God in our world to save us, making the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the poor to have the Good News proclaimed to them.

[3rd Advent Wreath candle is lit]

[An Advent refrain is song.]

CELEBRANT:         [ICEL 1998]

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 Kin-dom.

We ask this through him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near: your Son, our Lord Jesus, the Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.                                Amen.