Sunday, December 11, 2016 Third Sunday of Advent Introduction
A note of joyful expectation marks today’s worship. Isaiah announces that the desert shall rejoice and blossom. Jesus points to signs of God’s reign: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear. We wait with patience for the coming of the Lord, even as we rejoice at his presence among us this day: in word and holy supper, in church and in our homes, in silent reflection and in works of justice and love. We pray that God would open our eyes and ears to the wonders of Christ’s advent among us.
First Reading: Isaiah 35:1-10
The prophet describes the return from the Babylonian captivity as a joyous procession to Zion. God’s coming reign will bring a renewal of creation in which health and wholeness will be restored. There is no need for fear, for God is coming to save.
Psalm: Psalm 146:5-10
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down. (Ps. 146:8)
Second Reading: James 5:7-10
In anticipation of the Lord’s coming, Christians are called upon to cultivate patience rather than discontent.
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11
John the Baptist expects the Messiah to bring God’s judgment upon the earth. From a prison cell, he wonders whether Jesus is the one who will do this.