Lifelong Catechesis

Forming Catholic identity across generations
April 15, 2024


The twofold character of Advent calls us to prepare for the remembering of the Word made Flesh at Christmas, and directs us to wait with alertness for Jesus’ second coming.

Sunday Readings and Backgrounds

Third Sunday of Advent

Reading I : Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11

God is the joy of my soul.

  • The third section of the Book of Isaiah was written shortly after Israel’s return from exile.
  • Today’s passage connects anointing and being filled with the Spirit of God by using vocabulary similar to the servant songs in Second Isaiah.
  • The prophet proclaims a year of jubilee when debts are forgiven and land is returned to its original owner.

Reading II : 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Do not stifle the spirit.

  • At the end of the First Letter to the Thessalonians, Paul gives a series of directions to the faithful.
  • Paul advises the Thessalonians to pray and give thanks without ceasing.
  • The community is instructed to test everything and encourage that which is good.

Gospel : John 1:6-8, 19-28

Prepare the way of the Lord!

  • John’s Gospel uses words from Isaiah 40 to identify John the Baptist as the one who prepares the way for the new exodus and return from exile.
  • The priests and Levites ask, “Why then do you baptize?”  Baptism was a form of initiation for Gentle converts to Judaism.
  • John uses this opportunity to bear witness to the one who will come, who will baptize not in water but in the Spirit.