15th December 2020

Tuesday, Third Week of Advent;

Zeph 3:1-2,9-13;   Ps 34:2-3,6-7,17-19,23;   Mt 21:28-32


In today’s first reading, Prophet Zephaniah warns about the calamities that will fall upon Jerusalem to purify it. The history of the chosen people is a combination of unfaithfulness to God’s call and repentance; in each of us there is a combination of good and evil. The prophet announces the conversion of Egypt and Ethiopia, as symbols of far-off countries, with a messianic and universal outlook. He explains the formation of a new people with pure lips worthy of worship and of bringing gifts; it can be seen as a prophecy about the Magi. The humble and lowly people shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord; from the manger to the cross, the humble and lowly people loved and understood Jesus.

The emphasis of the gospel is on deeds and not on mere promises or empty words. Are we like the first son or the second? Jesus is inviting us during this advent for a change of heart which is proved by good deeds, to start life anew with faith in and commitment to God’s love. The chief priests and the elders of the people were respectable men in the Jewish community. They fulfilled all their religious obligations to the letter and made the required contributions towards the upkeep of the Temple, but they were very quick to judge and condemn those who did not follow them in their way of life, especially the tax collectors and prostitutes. John however, preached to these rejected ones and set them on the path of conversion and salvation.

If we are humble and have self-knowledge, only then can we grow in a relationship with God and be open to his grace. Saint Teresa of Avila says, “we shall never completely know ourselves if we don’t strive to know God; by gazing at his grandeur we get in touch with our own lowliness, by looking at his purity we shall see our own filth, by pondering his humility we shall see how far we are from being humble.” (Interior Castle I, 2:10).

Responsorial Psalm: The lowly one called, and the Lord heard him.

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