3rd Sunday of Advent (A)

December 11, 2022

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A SERMON FOR EVERY SUNDAY

3rd Sunday of Advent (A)

Ryan Ahlgrim, Mennonite

“You’ll Have to Ask My Neighbor”

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SOURCE: A Sermon for Every Sunday
JOURNEY WITH JESUS

3rd Sunday of Advent (A)

GOSPEL REFLECTION

Has It All Been For Nothing?

By Debie Thomas. — 2019

Joy is not evident behind the bars that hold the fiery Baptizer.
Through no fault of his own, John is in chains and in crisis, wondering if he has staked his life on the wrong promise and the wrong person. 

If John’s doubt, pain, and untimely death don’t rattle you, if his story doesn’t shake your faith even a little bit, then I’d ask you to pay attention to why.  It has always seemed odd to me that Christians who worship the Crucified One have a hard time staying put in the presence of extreme doubt, despair, and suffering.  Somehow, we feel a need to blunt the edges.  To soften the blows.  To make God okay.

But this story is not “okay,” and many of our own stories aren’t okay either.  The prison bars that hold us don’t always give way.  Our doubts don’t always resolve themselves.  Justice doesn’t always arrive in time.  Questions don’t always receive the answers we hunger for.

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3rd Sunday of Advent (A)

GOSPEL COMMENTARY

Watch Your Step

By SCOTT HOEZEE

John lived an austere life, and the world called him nuts. Jesus lived an exuberant life, and the world called him a playboy.

Have you ever felt really let down by something? Maybe it was a meal at some well-known restaurant. You’d looked forward to tasting this particular chef’s cuisine for so long but when you actually got to try the food, it was strikingly ordinary. Or perhaps it was some long-anticipated movie: maybe it was the sequel to another film you had really enjoyed and so you had waited for years for the next installment of the series to come out. You eagerly went to the theater on opening day only to discover the new movie turned out to be really boring…

Shift to Matthew 11. John the Baptist is in prison. In prison. Let those two little words sink in. He’s in prison. A not so nice place to be. In prison.


FIRST READING COMMENTARY

Being in the Desert

By STAN MAST

Isaiah 35 began with the desert shouting for joy and it ends with the joy of the redeemed. 

Advent in Year A of the Lectionary’s cycle of readings is a poetry lover’s delight.  From the images of mountains and military in Isaiah 2 to the plants and animals and a little child in Isaiah 11— we now come to the images of a trackless desert transformed into a verdant paradise with a superhighway running straight through it.

I love the desert southwest of America; it’s my favorite place to vacation in the winter when it is frigid and frozen in my home state of Michigan.  But I enjoy the beauty and warmth of the desert from the comfort of an air conditioned condo or from the seat of a golf cart with a cold drink in the cupholder.  The desert is a very different place for a Honduran refugee plodding through cacti and sagebrush following a rough path and carrying a jug of stale water for herself and her family.  Or for a Jew returning to the Promised Land from Exile in Babylon…

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3rd Sunday of Advent (A)

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