A Reading from the Book of Baruch (5:1-9)
Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God. Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting; for God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven. For God will give you evermore the name, “Righteous Peace, Godly Glory.” Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height; look toward the east, and see your children gathered from west and east at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that God has remembered them. For they went out from you on foot, led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back to you, carried in glory, as on a royal throne. For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God. The woods and every fragrant tree have shaded Israel at God’s command. For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.
> Baruch is one of the deuterocanonical books.
> Baruch was a secretary to Jeremiah.
> It is a collection of poems.
> It is a message about the end of Judah and Jerusalem.
> It was written during the time of promise to bring people back from exile.
> There are many similarities to Isaiah.
> It describes an image of a great and glorious new beginning and the coming of God.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; *
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
that he would save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers *
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham, *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear, *
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
> It is the Canticle of Zechariah (Chapter 1, v. 68-69 in Luke).
> He sings this song after he pronounces “His name is John.”.
> It refers to Jesus from the house of David as the mighty savior of the world.
A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians (1:3-11)
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
> This is probably the most joy-filled letter of Paul.
> Philippi is a city in Greece that was earlier visited by Paul.
> Paul sends Timothy there to report on the status there while he was in prison.
> Thanks for the past / Thanks for now / Thanks for the future
> That was the typical letter format from that time period.
> It describes looking forward to the second coming of Christ.
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (3:1-6)
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
> During the second and third Sunday of Advent, John the Baptist becomes the key figure.
> Luke sets the historical context in his writings.
> The heart of the Gospel writings begins with the ministry of John.
> The Herod referred to here (4 BCE) was Herod Antipas and not Herod the Great.
> Rome had ruled Palestine since 63 BCE (Judea and three other sections).
> Caiaphas was dethroned by the Romans but he still ran the show around 28 ACE.
> Israel also started in the wilderness, just like John.
> The term of “the voice in the wilderness”only appeared in the Greek version of the Bible.
> To “see” salvation meant to participate in it.
> Lots of people used baptism at that time.