As the Sundays of Advent unfold the scriptures shift focus from the final coming of the Lord to his historical birth. Today’s scriptures blend the two. Isaiah’s disillusionment with the kings of his own day led him to envision an ideal king who would rule with divine approval and be led by divine wisdom. For centuries the Jewish people anticipated the arrival of that Messiah, who would usher in a blessed age when the whole world would finally dwell in justice and peace.
After centuries of such growing expectation, the preaching of John the Baptist about the imminent arrival of the Messiah could not help but provoke intense interest. The Baptist’s message about preparation for “the one who is coming” (Matthew 3:11) makes clear that Jesus is, in fact, the long-awaited one who is ushering in the new age foretold by Isaiah and all the prophets.
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First Reading — He shall bring justice for the afflicted; the earth shall overflow with the knowledge of the LORD
Psalm — Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever (Psalm 72).
Second Reading — Glorify God by living in harmony with one another, welcoming each other as Christ welcomed you (Romans 15:4-9).
Gospel — Produce good fruit worthy of your baptism; repent, for the reign of God is near (Matthew 3:1-12).
The English translation of the Psalm Responses from Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.