Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7 or 40:1-5, 9-11
1. In the alternative reading (Isaiah 42), God says, ”Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased.” Then in the Gospel, a voice comes from heaven, saying to Jesus, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” What are the implications?
2. Wastelands, deserts, rugged land and rough country (Isaiah 40). Could these words describe terrorism in our world today? Election year politics? Your spiritual life? Does this reading suggest that there is help in fixing these or do we have to do it all ourselves?
Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
1. Did we do anything to earn salvation? Why does God give it to us? What does St. Paul in his letter to Titus say about the extravagance of God’s gift to us?
2. In the reading from Acts, Peter is quoted as saying this about Jesus: “ He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil.” Compare this with Isaiah in the First Reading: “I formed you … to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
1. John the Baptist was the middleman. He pointed back to Isaiah and forward to Jesus, connecting the whole plan. What or who are the “middlemen or women” who connect you with God? In what way are you a middle person?
2. At one of his weekly General Audiences Pope Francis explained that our Baptism “is the point of departure of a journey of conversion that lasts our whole life.” His lit candle signifies the light of Christ that enlightens every person. How can you receive “the light of faith” for your brothers and sisters? How can you be a light for someone in darkness?
The star appearing in the sky kindled in their minds and in their hearts a light that moved them to seek the great Light of Christ. Baptism illuminates us from within with the light of Jesus. … In virtue of this gift, the baptized are called to become “light”—the light of the faith they have received for their brothers, especially for those who are in darkness and do not perceive glimmers of light on the horizon of their life. … You must take the grace of Baptism, that is a gift, and become light for all!
Pope Francis: "Take the Grace of Baptism and Become
a Light for All," November 13, 2013