Third Sunday of Advent
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 1:6-8.19-28.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.
And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites (to him) to ask him, "Who are you?"
he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, "I am not the Messiah."
So they asked him, "What are you then? Are you Elijah?" And he said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No."
So they said to him, "Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?"
He said: "I am 'the voice of one crying out in the desert, "Make straight the way of the Lord,"' as Isaiah the prophet said."
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?"
John answered them, "I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie."
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Sin and indifference can keep us from meeting the Lord. Before we can see him at work, we need to prepare the way for his coming to us. We need to get the wrong things out of the way, repent and ask for forgiveness so his Word can take root in our lives.
Prayer as we light the third Advent Candle - The Candle of Hope
As we light this third Advent candle, we remember the witness of John the Baptist, and how we need to be prepared to meet Jesus by acknowledging our sin and asking God to cleanse us.
We beseech thee to listen to our prayers, O Lord, and by the grace of thy coming enlighten our darkened minds: Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.