Throughout the first three weeks of Advent our focus is very clearly on the End of Time, and the Second Coming of the Lord – not on the run up to Christmas (that only comes in the last week). If we view Advent as a Season preparing for Christmas these readings will make little sense – and neither will the figure of John the Baptist who appears today: if it was about the preparation for Christmas, then John the Baptist, preaching after Jesus was born, becomes a confusing figure: his role is to preach to us, as he did of old, and to prepare us for the (second) coming of the Lord. Everything gets more specific today: What is being preached is not an event, but a person: Isaiah promises him, John welcomes him, Paul invites us to imitate him. We have here a thumbnail portrait of the Messiah – useful to refer to when we get to Christmas and he is revealed as a child in a manger!
Today’s Scripture (Psalter: Week 2)
Isaiah 11: 1 – 10
Response: Psalm 71
O God, give your judgement to the king,
to a king’s son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice
and your poor in right judgement.
In his days justice shall flourish
and peace till the moon fails.
He shall rule from sea to sea,
from the Great River to earth’s bounds.
For he shall save the poor when they cry
and the needy who are helpless.
He will have pity on the weak
and save the lives of the poor.
May his name be blessed for ever
and endure like the sun.
Every tribe shall be blessed in him,
all nations bless his name
(Sung Antiphon: In his days justice shall flourish,and peace till the moon fails.)
Romans 15: 4-9
Acclamation for the Gospel:
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Prepare a way for the Lord, Make his paths straight, and al1 mankind shall see the salvation of God. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Matthew 3: 1 – 12
Prayer of the Faithful: R/. Thy Kingdom come, Lord.