“God will show your splendour.”
A reading from the Book of Baruch (Baruch 5:1-9)
Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God. Put on the robe of the righteousness from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting. For God will show your splendour everywhere under heaven. For your name will for ever be called by God, “Peace of righteousness and glory of godliness.” Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height and look towards 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 forth 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.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 126:1-2ab.2cd-3.4-5.6 (R. cf. 3)
R/. What great deeds the Lord has worked for us! Indeed, we were glad.
When the Lord brought back the exiles of Sion,
we thought we were dreaming.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter;
on our tongues, songs of joy. R/.
Then the nations themselves said,
“What great deeds the LORD worked for them!”
What great deeds the Lord worked for us!
Indeed, we were glad. R/.
Bring back our exiles, O Lord,
as streams in the south.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap. R/.
They go out, they go out, full of tears,
bearing seed for the sowing;
they come back, they come back with a song,
bearing their sheaves. R/.
“Be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians (Philippians 1 :4-6.8-11)
Brethren: Always in every prayer of mine for you all I make my prayer with joy, thankful for your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA Luke 3:4.6
Alleluia. Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight: all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Alleluia.
“All flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 3: 1-6)
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying 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 brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The meandering paths and winding roads of our lives are straightened; the valleys filled, and the mountains brought low when we repent. Repentance means to change one’s mind and turn one’s life towards God, who embraces us in mercy, forgives and welcomes us back home. Our repentance is our response to the invitation to “see the salvation of God” Baruch’s prophecy of a glorious future was fulfilled when Israel returned from exile. Isaiah’s prophecy of future glory quoted in the Gospel: “All flesh shall see the salvation of God” will be fulfilled when we return to God through repentance and forgiveness. Thus, repentance for forgiveness of sin is an essential requirement for us to see the salvation of God. It’s not easy, but possible and rewarding.