First reading Isaiah 35:1-6,10

God himself is coming to save you

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult,
let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,
let it rejoice and sing for joy.
 
The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,
the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
they shall see the glory of the Lord,
the splendour of our God.
 
Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to all faint hearts,
‘Courage! Do not be afraid.
 
‘Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming,
the retribution of God;
he is coming to save you.’
 
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
the ears of the deaf unsealed,
then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy
for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.
 
They will come to Zion shouting for joy,
everlasting joy on their faces;
joy and gladness will go with them
and sorrow and lament be ended.
 
 

Responsorial Psalm 145(146):6-10

Come, Lord, and save us.
or
Alleluia!
 
It is the Lord who keeps faith for ever,
  who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
  the Lord, who sets prisoners free,
 
It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
  who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord, who protects the stranger
  and upholds the widow and orphan.
 
It is the Lord who loves the just
  but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign for ever,
  Zion’s God, from age to age.
 
 

Second reading James 5:7-10

Do not lose heart; the Lord’s coming will be soon

Be patient, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. Think of a farmer: how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains! You too have to be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon. Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in submitting with patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
 
 
 

Gospel Matthew 11:2-11

‘A greater than John the Baptist has never been seen’

John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’
  As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:
 
‘Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way before you.
 
‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’
 
 
_______________________________
 

Do not lose heart because God is here

In the gospel, John the Baptist, locked in prison, started questioning if Jesus was the Messiah. The way Jesus carried His mission with
tenderness and love was not what John the Baptist expected. Thus, John sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come,
or are we to expect someone else?”. He expected the Messiah to come with power and bring judgement to all. Instead, Jesus came to show
God’s mercy to all, especially the weakest and the most vulnerable.
 
Like John the Baptist, we might be slow to recognise that God is at work in our lives, especially when things do not turn out as expected.
Nevertheless, Jesus calls us to keep believing and trusting in God. We take comfort in the 2nd reading in which St. James says “Be patient…You too have to be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon”. God indeed comes daily, and His coming brings deep joy to our hearts.
 
Reflective question:
What is Jesus’ invitation to me at this point of my Advent journey?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.