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Discussion Questions
Third Sunday of Advent A
December 11, 2016
Anne Osdieck

First Reading

Isaiah 35:1-6a,10

1. Isaiah said God would give signs to tell the Israelites of their delivery from slavery. What were these signs? Are there signs of God’s loving presence in your life? What about in the world of medicine and social justice today?

2. Who does God use to transform the world now? Name one thing you can do in your home, community, parish, work or environment to make the world a better place?

Second Reading
James 5:7-10

1. “See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth.” How does this statement relate to Advent? What part does nature play? What is the farmer doing? What do you do? What does God do in you during this time? Is patience involved in both situations?

2. What are some qualities that patience brings with it? What does impatience bring? St. James warns his community against complaining about one another. Is this a fault peculiar to St. James’ community? How does it relate to patience?

Matthew 11:2-11

1.Explain in both the literal and metaphorical senses “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised.” John asked Jesus if he was “the one who is to come.” Jesus answered with the above statement. The people who came to John were seeking the deepest desires of their hearts. How was Jesus’ response an answer to those desires?

2. John the Baptist might have expected a mighty one and was confused at the gentle, healing Jesus. Pope Francis invites us into the cell of John the Baptist to look into his soul, which was weighed down not only by chains, but by “the shackles of doubt.” Does God always come into your life the way you expect?

[John the Baptist] suffered in prison—let us say the word—the interior torture of doubt, saying: “But maybe I made a mistake? This Messiah is not how I imagined the Messiah would be.” And he invited his disciples to ask Jesus: “But tell us, tell us the truth: are you he who is to come?” because that doubt made him suffer. “Was I mistaken in proclaiming someone who isn’t [who I thought]?” The suffering, the interior solitude of this man. “I, on the other hand, must diminish, but diminish thus: in my soul, in my body, in everything.” …

… [L]et us ask the Lord for the grace of humility that John had, … the grace that there [be] always space in our lives for Jesus to grow and that we abase ourselves, to the very end.

Pope Francis: God Triumphs through Humility
Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. May 2, 2016

Anne Osdieck
Art by Martin Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C).
This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go