December 4, 2011
Second Sunday in Advent
FIRST READING: Isaiah 40:1-11
Our God has said:
“Encourage my people! Give them comfort.
2Speak kindly to Jerusalem and announce:
Your slavery is past; your punishment is over.
I, the LORD, made you pay double for your sins.”
3Someone is shouting:
“Clear a path in the desert! Make a straight road
for the LORD our God.
4Fill in the valleys; flatten every hill and mountain.
Level the rough and rugged ground.
5Then the glory of the LORD will appear for all to see.
The LORD has promised this!”
6Someone told me to shout, and I asked,
“What should I shout?”
We humans are merely grass,
and we last no longer than wild flowers.
7At the LORD’S command, flowers and grass disappear,
and so do we.
8Flowers and grass fade away,
but what our God has said will never change.
9There is good news for the city of Zion.
Shout it as loud as you can from the highest mountain.
Don’t be afraid to shout to the towns of Judah,
“Your God is here!”
10Look! The powerful LORD God is coming
to rule with his mighty arm.
He brings with him what he has taken in war,
and he rewards his people.
11The LORD cares for his nation,
just as shepherds care for their flocks.
He carries the lambs in his arms,
while gently leading the mother sheep.
PSALMODY: Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
1Our LORD, you have blessed your land
and made all go well for Jacob’s descendants.
2You have forgiven the sin
and taken away the guilt of your people.
8I will listen to you, LORD God,
because you promise peace to those
who are faithful and no longer foolish.
9You are ready to rescue everyone who worships you,
so that you will live with us in all of your glory.
10Love and loyalty will come together;
goodness and peace will unite.
11Loyalty will sprout from the ground;
justice will look down from the sky above.
12Our LORD, you will bless us;
our land will produce wonderful crops.
13Justice will march in front,
making a path for you to follow.
SECOND READING: 2 Peter 3:8-15a
8Dear friends, don’t forget that for the Lord one day is the same as a thousand years, and a thousand years is the same as one day. 9The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.
10The day of the LORD’S return will surprise us like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a loud noise, and the heat will melt the whole universe. Then the earth and everything on it will be seen for what they are.
11Everything will be destroyed. So you should serve and honor God by the way you live. 12You should look forward to the day when God judges everyone, and you should try to make it come soon. On that day the heavens will be destroyed by fire, and everything else will melt in the heat. 13But God has promised us a new heaven and a new earth, where justice will rule. We are really looking forward to that!
14My friends, while you are waiting, you should make certain that the Lord finds you pure, spotless, and living at peace. 15Don’t forget that the Lord is patient because he wants people to be saved.
GOSPEL: Mark 1:1-8
This is the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2It began just as God had said in the book written by Isaiah the prophet,
“I am sending my messenger
to get the way ready for you.
3In the desert someone is shouting,
‘Get the road ready for the Lord!
Make a straight path for him.’ ”
4So John the Baptist showed up in the desert and told everyone, “Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven.”
5From all Judea and Jerusalem crowds of people went to John. They told how sorry they were for their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.
6John wore clothes made of camel’s hair. He had a leather strap around his waist and ate grasshoppers and wild honey.
7John also told the people, “Someone more powerful is going to come. And I am not good enough even to stoop down and untie his sandals. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”