Psalter: Week 2
Ps 72:1–2, 7–8, 12–13, 17
Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace forever.
1st Reading: Is 11:1–10
From the stump of Jesse a shoot will come forth;
from his roots a branch will grow and bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him –
a Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a Spirit of counsel and power,
a Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
Not by appearances will he judge,
nor by what is said must he decide,
but with justice he will judge the poor
and with righteousness decide for the meek.
Like a rod, his word will strike the oppressor,
and the breath of his lips slay the wicked.
Justice will be the girdle of his waist,
truth the girdle of his loins.
The wolf will dwell with the lamb,
the leopard will rest beside the kid,
the calf and the lion cub will feed together
and a little child will lead them.
Befriending each other, the cow and the bear
will see their young ones lie down together.
Like cattle, the lion will eat hay.
By the cobra’s den the infant will play.
The child will put his hand into the viper’s lair.
No one will harm or destroy over my holy mountain,
for as water fills the sea
the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.
On that day the “Root of Jesse” will be raised as a signal for the nations. The people will come in search of him, thus making his dwelling place glorious.
2nd Reading: Rom 15:4–9
And we know that whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, for both perseverance and comfort given us by the Scripture sustain our hope. May God, the source of all perseverance and comfort, give to all of you to live in peace in Christ Jesus, that you may be able to praise in one voice God, Father of Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Welcome, then, one another, as Christ welcomed you for the glory of God. Look: Christ put himself at the service of the Jewish world to fulfill the promises made by God to their ancestors; here you see God’s faithfulness. The pagans instead give thanks to God for his mercy, as Scripture says: Because of that, I will sing and praise your name among the pagans.
Gospel: Mt 3:1–12
In the course of time John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea and began to proclaim his message, “Change your ways, the Kingdom of heaven is now at hand!” It was about him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said, A voice is shouting in the desert: prepare a way for the Lord; make his paths straight.
John had a leather garment around his waist and wore a cloak of camel’s hair; his food was locusts and wild honey. People came to him from Jerusalem, from all Judea and from the whole Jordan valley, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan as they confessed their sins.
When he saw several Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he baptized, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who told you that you could escape the punishment that is to come? Let it be seen that you are serious in your conversion, and do not think: We have Abraham for our father. I tell you that God can raise children for Abraham from these stones! The axe is already laid to the roots of the trees; any tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire.
I baptize you in water for a change of heart, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than me; indeed I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire. He has the winnowing fan in his hand and he will clear out his threshing floor. He will gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn in everlasting fire.”
Read: Last Sunday we heard Isaiah’s description of life on the mountain of the Lord. Today Isaiah describes the qualities of the prince who rules on the mountain and who effects reconciliation and peace among the peoples. John the Baptist engages in his ministry of preparing the way of the Lord, inviting people to change their ways and be serious in their conversion. Paul teaches us that God gives perseverance, comfort, and peace in Lord Jesus.
Reflect: Has the dream of God for His people been fulfilled? Has my lack of conversion delayed the coming of the Kingdom? What is my role in establishing a peaceful world where “the calf and the lion cub will feed together”? Through my Baptism and Confirmation, the Holy Spirit has been poured into my heart. How well do I live according to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit? What must I do to amend my ways and be prepared to receive the Lord?
Pray: Lord Jesus, touch my heart and mend its ways. Pour into me your Spirit of wisdom, understanding, good counsel, power for service, knowledge, and fear of the Lord. Empower me to be a sound conduit of the coming of the Kingdom in the world. Amen.
Listen: Listen attentively to the voice shouting in the desert. What does it say about you?
Act: Do a life review. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).
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