|"The Voice in the Desert" -- by James Tissot|
FIRST READING: Baruch 5: 1 - 9
1 Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God.
2 Put on the robe of the righteousness from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting.
3 For God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven.
4 For your name will for ever be called by God, "Peace of righteousness and glory of godliness."
5 Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height and look toward the east, and see your children gathered from west and east, at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that God has remembered them.
6 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.
7 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.
8 The woods and every fragrant tree have shaded Israel at God's command.
9 For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.
PSALM: Psalms 126: 1 - 6
1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
3 The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb!
5 May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy!
6 He that goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
SECOND READING: Philippians 1: 4 - 6, 8 - 11
4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
5 thankful for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
6 And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,
10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
11 filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
GOSPEL: Luke 3: 1 - 6
1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiber'i-us Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturae'a and Trachoni'tis, and Lysa'ni-as tetrarch of Abile'ne,
2 in the high-priesthood of Annas and Ca'iaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechari'ah in the wilderness;
3 and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
4 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.
5 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;
6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."