THE SEASON OF ADVENT: please see resources below.
During Advent we prepare our hearts and homes for the coming of Christ in humility – at Christmas. But it’s also a time to prepare us for the coming of Christ in glory – at the end of this present age.
The prophet Isaiah says: “In that day… nothing will hurt or destroy… and the earth will be filled with people who know God.”
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Lord Jesus, Prepare my heart, my mind, my spirit for that day – when You will come in glory. Give me a vision of that day… a day of justice… a day of peace… a day of vindication – when the whole world will worship You as the King of glory! May it begin in me today. Amen.
A Reading from the Old Testament: Isaiah 11:1-10 (NLT)
Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot — yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment.
In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.
In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.
A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 (NLT)
Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly.
May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more. May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.
He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them.
May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise.
A Reading from the Paul’s Letter to the Church in Rome: Romans 15:4-9 (NLT)
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them.
That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.”
A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 3:1-12 (NLT)
In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’” John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
Lord God, who makes all things new, let Your creation now sing a new song: in Your mercy, hear my prayers –
+ For the Church: Lord, You have made known that tumultuous times lie ahead. The clamour of voices may for a while drown out the still small voice that I listen for. Help me at this time to put my trust in You, knowing that no phoenix arises from the ashes without first submitting to the flame that purifies and the wind that renews. Then, for those that truly love You, the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.
+ For Creation, Human Societies, World Leaders and those in authority: Lord, in a world where many exploit the labors of others, bring a new spirit of mutual respect. Faithful Creator, ever striving with all that You have made — with nature, with Your people, with Your Son who embodied Your will — bringing new and unexpected life out of despair and death, work still in these my days, that I may sing a new song to Your glory.
+ For my local community: Lord, guide and enable all who lead and serve this community. Help me to work for the peace and welfare of this place, as I give thanks for human friendships and for all that enriches my daily life. Despite any problems that I may face, I know that Your judgment is tempered with mercy, love and compassion, and that underneath are Your everlasting arms. All good things come from You.
+ For those who suffer: Lord and savior of the world, be present in all places of suffering, violence and pain. Stretch out Your hand, I pray, to bring comfort, wholeness and peace to all who suffer in body, mind or spirit. I pray for all who bring relief to those in distress and ask You to fill us, also, with compassion so that we may do all that we can to help those in need. Thus may I, too, be a channel of Your healing love.
+ For the communion of saints: Lord, conqueror of death, have mercy on those who have died violently or unprepared. Grant them peace and new life in Your kingdom, where there is no more pain or suffering. Help me to live this day in the sure and certain hope of Your eternal victory, as I commend myself, and all for whom I pray, to Your judgment tempered with mercy.
Lord God, who makes all things new, let Your creation now sing a new song of Kingdom come … bringing good news to the poor, sight to the blind, freedom to captives and saving grace to your people. Anoint me with your Spirit to work in Your name:
- Use me to bring help to the poor and freedom to the oppressed.
- Use me to tell the world the good news of Your healing love.
- Use me to bring joy and gladness instead of grief to those who mourn.
- Use me to tell others that the time is now for You to save Your people.
Lord, who makes all things new, let Your creation now sing a new song of Kingdom come: in Your mercy, hear my prayers and make me one in mind and heart with all Your people to serve You in Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hymn: “Come Thou, Long Expected Jesus” – Charles Wesley
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
THE SEASON OF ADVENT: + Online Advent Calendar – US Catholic Conference of Bishops + Online Advent Calendar for Adults – Loyola Press + Busted Halo’s Surprise Advent Calendar + 2013 Advent Devotion Apps, eBooks and More! | ChurchMag