Living in Hope: St. Joseph.  The third week of an Advent and Christmas Retreat by Becky Eldredge
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Living With Hope Retreat
Week 3: St. Joseph

Dear Friends, 

This week, we light the pink candle on our Advent Wreath.  The  third Sunday of Advent is known as "Gaudete Sunday".  Gaudete means "rejoice", and what a reason we have to rejoice, as the celebration of the Lord's birth is very near!

Our companion for the third week of our retreat is Jesus' father, St. Joseph.  Joseph is a man of action, who models for us what it means to love through deeds.  His quiet presence throughout Jesus' life offers us witness of how to companion others through love. 

Joseph gives us reason to "rejoice" as he nurtures the infant Jesus through childhood to adulthood. Can you imagine all of the concrete gestures of love and mercy he offered Jesus?  

As you journey through the third week of Advent, know of my prayers for you!

P.S.  Don't forget to join the celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy through our hashtag campaign:  #MercyMatters  

If you missed the last two weeks' emails, here are links to them!

Week 1: The Trinity
Week 2:  St. John the Baptist
Living with Hope Retreat- Week 3: St. Joseph


The below Readings are from the Sunday Readings for the First Sunday of Advent.  Pick one reading each day for prayer.  Throughout the week, repeat the scriptures that capture your attention.  

If you would like to pray with the daily readings this week in addition to the Sunday readings, the USCCB posts them daily here.  

When praying with scripture, I invite you to try the prayer method of Lectio Divina.  Click here to download a guide.

Third Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 9

Reading 1ZEP 3:14-18A

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you
he has turned away your enemies;
the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
he will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

Responsorial PsalmIS 12:2-3, 4, 5-6

R. (6) Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

Reading 2PHIL 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding 
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

AlleluiaIS 61:1 (CITED IN LK 4:18)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 3:10-18

The crowds asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?”
He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none. 
And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
“Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them, 
“Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him,
“And what is it that we should do?”
He told them,
“Do not practice extortion, 
do not falsely accuse anyone, 
and be satisfied with your wages.”

Now the people were filled with expectation, 
and all were asking in their hearts 
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying, 
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn, 
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Exhorting them in many other ways, 
he preached good news to the people.


1.  What has the Holy Spirit conceived in us so Christ might more fully enter our world? 

2.  Joseph was a man of action.  What concrete gestures of love is God inviting you to do? 

3.  What or whom is the source of your joy?  Offer thanks to God for those people and things that help you know God.  

4.  What does Joseph teach us about offering Mercy to others? 
Putting Hope into Action:  The Nativity of our Lord

Does your home have a nativity in it?   It is a beautiful visual to remember what this season is really about:  the waiting for the celebration of the birth of the Messiah.  

The first nativity scene was recreated by St. Francis.  He did so in a cave in Italy because he was fed up with the materialism and consumerism that was rampant in his time.   St. Francis wrote to his friend, "I want to do something that will recall the memory of that child who was born in Bethlehem, to see with body eyes the inconveniences of his infancy, how he lay in the manger, and how the ox and the ass stood by."   
The nativity reminds us of the simplistic dwelling where Jesus was born, and it reminds us that our Savior came into the world as an infant, just as we all have.  

If you have not set up a nativity in your home, consider making this part of your Advent and Christmas season traditions!
Copyright © 2015 Becky Eldredge, All rights reserved.

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