FIRST READING: Isaiah 40: 1 - 5, 9 - 11
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
3 A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
9 Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!"
10 Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
PSALM: Psalms 85: 9 - 14
9 Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
12 Yea, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before him, and make his footsteps a way.
SECOND READING: 2 Peter 3: 8 - 14
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,
12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire!
13 But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
14 Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
GOSPEL: Mark 1: 1 - 8
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way;
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight -- "
4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5 And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey.
7 And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."