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Resting and Resetting When the World Just Keeps Moving

December 15, 2020  Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent (Lectionary: 188)

Reading 1   ZEP 3:1-2, 9-13
Thus says the LORD:
Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted,
to the tyrannical city!
She hears no voice,
accepts no correction;
In the LORD she has not trusted,
to her God she has not drawn near.

For then I will change and purify
the lips of the peoples,
That they all may call upon the name of the LORD,
to serve him with one accord;
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
and as far as the recesses of the North,
they shall bring me offerings.

On that day
You need not be ashamed
of all your deeds,
your rebellious actions against me;
For then will I remove from your midst
the proud braggarts,
And you shall no longer exalt yourself
on my holy mountain.
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
Nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
They shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them..

Responsorial Psalm   PS 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19 AND 23
R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, O Lord, do not delay;
forgive the sins of your people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   MT 21:28-32
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’
but afterwards he changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the Kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

By Sadie Curtin 

I am one of those people who deeply appreciates a reminder, a reset, and gentle nudge during Advent to keep my mind and heart focused on the true and beautiful of the season. As I find myself here amid Advent, the words of the Prophet Zephaniah serve as a rejuvenation and re-centering of what it is that we are truly preparing for: Incarnation.  The presence of God, fully human and fully Divine, tangibly present in Jesus. 

This is a gem of the Catholic faith that draws me in so deeply to know Jesus. 

The prophets inspire me to listen and internalize their words.  Zephaniah proclaims the words of LORD:

“But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.”

These are words that point me to Incarnation.  To find Jesus, is to look to the humble, the lowly.  To find Jesus is to take refuge in the Lord.  For me, I find Jesus in my boyfriend – a man who is humble in his faith, as he lives it through quiet kindness and a genuine selfless nature.  For me, I hear Jesus in the voices of the lowly – those society deems as lesser, unworthy, marginalized – particularly people crying for compassionate treatment regardless of identity.

For me, I am drawn closer to Jesus when I hear, read, and pray the words of modern-day prophets in my midst who inspire me to find my refuge in the Lord.  

The Incarnation, which we prepare to celebrate, is profoundly beautiful, hopeful, and powerful.  I am encouraged in these weeks of Advent to think about Mary and Joseph. How can I better model their “Yes!” and their humble life?  How can I better embrace a life that seeks refuge in the Lord as they did?  What a treasure to have Mary and Joseph as a path to the Incarnation.  

I am pausing today to internalize the words of Zephaniah, to re-center my mind and heart on the Incarnation for the remaining days of Advent, to cherish the humble, lowly, faith-filled voices I hear today, and to look at the profound witness of the Holy Family. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Sadie Curtin is a high school theology teacher who finds herself most invigorated by LGBTQIA+ equity, racism, and the profound beauty of world religions. She finds joy in taking long walks with friends, reading a thought-provoking memoir, and trying to find the best pizza in Cleveland. She loves to dive deep into issues of social justice and would love to engage in conversation with you! Find more about her here

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