READING OF THE DAY
A reading from the Book of the prophet Isaiah
Raise a glad cry, you barren one who did not bear,
Break forth in jubilant song, you who were not in labor,
For more numerous are the children of the deserted wife
than the children of her who has a husband,
says the Lord.
Enlarge the space for your tent,
spread out your tent cloths unsparingly;
lengthen your ropes and make firm your stakes.
For you shall spread abroad to the right and to the left;
your descendants shall dispossess the nations
and shall people the desolate cities.
Fear not, you shall not be put to shame;
you need not blush, for you shall not be disgraced.
The shame of your youth you shall forget,
the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember.
For he who has become your husband is your Maker;
his name is the Lord of hosts;
Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
called God of all the earth.
The Lord calls you back,
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
A wife married in youth and then cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back.
In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
I hid my face from you;
But with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the Lord, your redeemer.
This is for me like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah
should never again deluge the earth;
So I have sworn not to be angry with you,
or to rebuke you.
Though the mountains leave their place
and the hills be shaken,
My love shall never leave you
nor my covenant of peace be shaken,
says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
GOSPEL OF THE DAY
From the Gospel according to Luke
When the messengers of John the Baptist had left,
Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John.
“What did you go out to the desert to see a reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine garments?
Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously
are found in royal palaces.
Then what did you go out to see?
A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom Scripture says:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
he will prepare your way before you.
I tell you,
among those born of women, no one is greater than John;
yet the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.”
(All the people who listened, including the tax collectors,
who were baptized with the baptism of John,
acknowledged the righteousness of God;
but the Pharisees and scholars of the law,
who were not baptized by him,
rejected the plan of God for themselves.)
Thursday of the Third Week in Advent
God’s Word for Us
Dear people of God,
The Word of God today praises Saint John the Baptist as a great prophet of God. God told mankind that John the Baptist was a messenger from heaven, sent by God to earth to prepare the way for the Son of God to come to earth as a man. The words of Saint John’s preaching called people to repent in order to prepare to receive the Messiah when He would come and be in the midst of mankind. That is the testimony, the testimony that comes from God.
God reveals to mankind that: Saint John was a great prophet, loved by God and shown God’s mercy. God was pleased with how Saint John lived and worked when he was present in this world, that John testified about God the Father, testified about the Son of God born into the world. The preaching of Saint John the Baptist reaches all mankind, and those who believe and are baptized by Saint John the Baptist have God’s mercy and salvation.
Saint John, spoken of in the Bible from time immemorial, was a forerunner for the Son of God: “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of You, he will prepare the way before You.” All who believe in John’s preaching believe in God’s righteousness, justice, and charity. Sinners who believe in God’s Holy name are all saved, for He will forgive the mistakes of people who have offended God and others. Those who think they are righteous, who give themselves an attitude of broad and deep understanding, who consider themselves wise, who know everything about the mystery of God’s kingdom cannot be saved by God. For they do not humble themselves, do not show self-abasement, are unaccepting of the words of Saint John, and refuse to accept the Son of God who was born as a man.
Today, God the Father calls all mankind: to believe, as truth, that the Son of God came to earth as a man. It is because of His love that He was with humanity, accompanying people everywhere, at all times, to free people from darkness, from the sin of the the world. God the Father loves all mankind; He does not exclude any soul. Therefore, the Word of God today calls to all members of God’s people, to all who are present in this world: Be humble, self-abasing, small, and simple when listening to the Word of God. Listen to the messengers of God and put their words into practice. When living a thoughtful life like this, the life of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven in the future will be present in the very heart of each person created by God the Father.
Thanks Be to God. Amen.