13Dec 13 December, 2019. Friday of Advent, Week 2

St. Lucy, virgin and martyr (Memorial)

1st Reading: Isaiah 48:17-19

If you kept the commandments, your name will last forever

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go. O that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your prosperity would have been like a river, and your success like the waves of the sea; your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me.”

Responsorial: Psalm 1:1-4, 6

Response: Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life

Happy indeed is the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
nor lingers in the way of sinners
nor sits in the company of scorners,
but who delight is the law of the Lord
and who ponders his law day and night.

He is like a tree that is planted beside the flowing waters,
that yields its fruit in due season
and whose leaves shall never fade;
and all that he does shall prosper.

Not so are the wicked, not so!
For they like winnowed chaff
shall be driven away by the wind.
For the Lord guards the way of the just
but the way of the wicked leads to doom.

Gospel: Matthew 11:16-19

Foolish people listened neither to the Baptist nor to Jesus

Jesus said to his disciples, “To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”


May your words, O Lord, be in my thoughts, on my lips, and in my heart. May they be my guide on life’s journey and keep me near to you.

How might these Readings apply today?

Welcoming the diversity of charisms

Each person tends to opt for some kind of lifestyle among various possibilities, since God created each of us with a distinctive personality, special preferences, individualized vocations. Because we tend to become overly specialized with strong likes and dislikes, we badly need others to complement what we are lacking. St. Paul even went so far as to say that each of us must fill up what is lacking in the body of Christ! Yet we tend to resist this advice; we do not want to admit our weaknesses. We even become defensive and then aggressive if others detect our inability to perform or control.

Our ability to cure what is with us is suggested by Jesus’ words. He quoted a proverb to the effect that we need joyful people who readily dance and compassionate people who readily sympathize. Yet every initiative can be spurned and ridiculed: “We piped you a tune but you did not dance! We sang you a dirge but you did not wail!” Jesus was leading up to this punchline: John the Baptist was seen neither eating nor drinking, and people say, “He is mad!” The Son of Man was seen eating and drinking, and they say, “He is a glutton and a drunkard, a lover of tax collectors and those outside the law!” Many practical conclusions can be drawn from these words, but most of all he is pleading with us to give the other person a chance. We must not judge harshly nor condemn too quickly. Others have every right to that which God provides so plentifully and so freely, namely time.

If we remain united in love, we will be long in patience and slow with judgment. We will persevere through all difficulties and give everyone the necessary time and space to grow and to make his contribution. We will feel a serious need for the help and contribution of others, all the more as we develop our own specialized talents. Only through others will we be truly balanced and integral in our values and attitude.

Dances and dirges

Jesus was a keen observer of people of all ages. He loved to speak about the kingdom of God using practical images drawn from daily life. Today we find him drawing on his observation of children at play in the market square. Sometimes their play simply reflects the joy of life. They happily pretend to play pipes while other children dance to the music. At other times their games reflect the sorrows of life, perhaps what they had seen at the death of an elderly neighbour. Some of them sang dirges while the other children would mourn and wail in response. But some children refused to join in any game; they wouldn’t dance when the pipes were played and they wouldn’t mourn when dirges were sung.

The unresponsive children reminded Jesus of some dour, unresponsive adults round about him. They would neither mourn in response to the grim message of John the Baptist nor dance in response to Jesus’ more joyful message. They dismissed John as possessed and Jesus as a glutton and a drunkard. It is interesting how Our Lord identifies his own ministry with the piper and the dance. His life and his message are good news, the good news of God’s love for us all; he plays a joyful tune. We are called to move in unison with the music of Jesus, the music of his Spirit in our lives. We try to attune ourselves to the Lord’s rhythm and melody and allow it to shape all that we say and do. That is our Advent calling in preparation for our celebration of the birth of Jesus.

4 Responses

  1. Ann Smith

    A friend recommended your site for the daily readings because the language was inclusive yet time and again I have been disappointed to find this is not the case. Today’s psalm is yet another example of this “Happy indeed is the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked” and other lines. I welcome your resource and applaud the wider work of ACP but wonder why you can’t provide an inclusive version of scripture readings.Must I look elsewhere for translations that assure me that I as a woman am included?

  2. DJ Mott

    “Must I look elsewhere for translations that assure me that I as a woman am included?”
    Dear Ann,
    Enjoy the site, but please don’t make this about personal agendas. The point is the Gospel. The translations are in approved English as heard at Mass. And in English, the word, “man,” refers frequently to a human being, as “one”. Yes, it can be ambiguous and sometimes is used to mean a male. But you know that. Enjoy being included in English as one of mankind as in the creed of the ritual without fear. Peace.

  3. Rose Oliveira

    Dear Anne Smith
    Regarding your concern in that as a woman you have to look else where to be included .
    I think that this writing found in the meaning of Advent and the candles should explain and the readings of the scriptures as a whole .How can we change what was written thousand of years ago to make it gender perfect today where everyone tries to force their way of life or way of thinking on to everyone else . I do not know any Bible readings in any religion on this earth or for that matter any prophets from thousand of years ago have to be concerned or had to worry like today of being politically gender correct….. really !!!!!
    I respect your thoughts and wants but as the scripture readings we have are as they are and no one is forcing us to take line by line and read inbetween the lines and life was so much more respectful and serene when what we wanted was not forced and expected to think to your desires and wants .God bless you and keep you full of joy ,peace and love .
    The gendered form of the English language is a perpetual
    challenge to translators, but never more so than in the present age, when a masculine form is often taken positively to exclude the feminine. Every effort has been made to avoid this, except in the most extreme and rare cases which would result in such absurdity as: ‘If your brother or sister does something wrong, go and point it out between you and him or her alone. If he or she listens to you, you have won back your brother or sister. If he or she does not listen …’ (Matthew 18:15-16). So in the Prologue to John on Christmas Day: ‘in him was life, life that was the light of all people’, ‘all men’ becomes ‘all people’, and ‘the will of man’ (KJV, NRSV) is translated ‘human will

  4. patrick Rogers

    Dear Ann.
    As a general rule this site uses the new revised standard version for the readings. However we have included the Psalms in the Grail version which is more metrical and pleasing to the ear. Taking your point on board I will try to modify the version of the Psalms we use into the future so as to be inclusive language. And I think you will find that this website generally respects the equality of the sexes.

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