ADVENT 3B Reading and Reflection
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 + Psalm 126 or Luke 1:46b-55 + 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 + John 1:6-8, 19-28
A Comment: These readings all come out of various times and places — both Old and New Testament– with strong points of view to acknowledge what is wrong in the world, yet continue to see and hear Light, hope, and a future that is transformed rather than overwhelmed by grief, fear, and anger.
- From any one or all five of these readings, which 1-2 sentences best describe how you are in this second week of Advent?
- Which aspects of the many problems described are of greatest concern to you now?
- Select one of those many problems and then use one of the readings as a pattern for a strategy of Divine-human collaboration for responding to that problem.
- What do these readings have to do with Advent? Who is coming? When?
Why? Who are you waiting for?
- What kind of assistance do you need this week, and where do you find it here?
- What questions continue to weigh upon your heart and mind?
- To what is God calling you within these readings?
- What is your prayer for this week?
Isaiah 1 1-4 The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace— a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations,
you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
and your joy go on forever.
1: 8-11 “Because I, God, love fair dealing I will sing for joy in God,
explode in praise from deep in my soul!
God dressed me up in a suit of salvation,
and outfitted me in a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo
and a bride a jeweled tiara.
For as the earth bursts w/ spring wildflowers,
and as a garden cascades with blossoms,
So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations
Luke 1:46-55 J.B. Phillips New Testament
46-55 Then Mary said, “My heart is overflowing with praise of my Lord,
my soul is full of joy in God my Savior.
For he has deigned to notice me, his humble servant and,
after this, all the people who ever shall be will call me the happiest of women!
The one who can do all things has done great things for me—
oh, holy is his Name!
Truly, his mercy rests on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, he has swept away the high and mighty.
He has set kings down from their thrones and lifted up the humble.
He has satisfied the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
Yes, he has helped Israel, his child:
he has remembered the mercy that he promised to our forefathers,
to Abraham and his sons for evermore!”
Psalm 126 In convertendo
1 When God restored the fortunes of Zion, *
then were we like those who dream.
2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, *
and our tongue with shouts of joy.
3 Then they said among the nations, *
“God has done great things for them.”
4 God has done great things for us, *
and we are glad indeed.
5 Restore our fortunes, O God, *
like the watercourses of the Negev.
6 Those who sowed with tears *
will reap with songs of joy.
7 Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, *
will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 Common English Bible
16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray continually. 18 Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Don’t suppress the Spirit. 20 Don’t brush off Spirit-inspired messages, 21 but examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. 23 Now, may the God of peace himself cause you to be completely dedicated to him; and may your spirit, soul, and body be kept intact and blameless at our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming. 24 The one who is calling you is faithful and will do this.
John 1:6-8, 19-28 The Message
6-8 There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.
19-20 When Jews from Jerusalem sent a group of priests and officials to ask John who he was, he was completely honest. He didn’t evade the question. He told the plain truth: “I am not the Messiah.”
21 They pressed him, “Who, then? Elijah?”
“I am not.”
“The Prophet?” “No.”
22 Exasperated, they said, “Who, then? We need an answer for those who sent us. Tell us something—anything!—about yourself.”
23 “I’m thunder in the desert: ‘Make the road straight for God!’ I’m doing what the prophet Isaiah preached.”
24-25 Those sent to question him were from the Pharisee party. Now they had a question of their own: “If you’re neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet, why do you baptize?”
26-27 John answered, “I only baptize using water. A person you don’t recognize has taken his stand in your midst. He comes after me, but he is not in second place to me. I’m not even worthy to hold his coat for him.”
28 These conversations took place in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing at the time.