Advent

Morning of December 24

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Micah 6:6-8

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?
 Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
 with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
 the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
 and what does the Lord require of you
 but to do justice, and to love kindness,
 and to walk humbly with your God?

New Testament Canticle: Luke 1:46b-55

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
 Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
 and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
 from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
 he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
 and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
 and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
 in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
 to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:5-10

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
 but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
 you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’
 (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).”¹

jesus-christ-on-cross.jpg

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

¹Psalm 49:6-8 (Septuagint)

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Jesus Christ on the Cross, photograph by Karen Arnold via publicdomainpictures.net. This is a public domain image.

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The Fourth Sunday in Advent

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Micah 5:2-5a

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
 who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one
 who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
 from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
 when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
 to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
 in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
 to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace.

Psalm 80:1-7

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
 you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
 and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
 how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
 and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
 our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:5-10

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
 but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
 you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’
 (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).¹”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God's will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

¹Psalm 40:6-8

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 1:39-55

Magnificat-2.jpg

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
 Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
 and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
 from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
 he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
 and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
 and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
 in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
 to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Year C Advent 4 Sunday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.

Image credit:The Visitation by Michael Angelo Immenraet, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 66:7-11

Before she was in labor
 she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her
 she delivered a son.
Who has heard of such a thing?
 Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
 Shall a nation be delivered in one moment?
Yet as soon as Zion was in labor
 she delivered her children.
Shall I open the womb and not deliver?
 says the Lord;
shall I, the one who delivers, shut the womb?
 says your God.

Rejoice with Jerusalem,and be glad for her,
 all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
 all you who mourn over her—
that you may nurse and be satisfied
 from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
  from her glorious bosom.

Psalm 80:1-7

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
 you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
 and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
 how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
 and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
 our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 13:31-35

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’¹”

¹Psalm 118:28

Year C Advent 4 Saturday

Pharisees.jpg

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.

Image credit: Christ Accused by the Pharisees by Duccio di Buoninsegna via Wikimedia Commons.

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Friday: Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 42:10-18

Sing to the Lord a new song,
 his praise from the end of the earth!
Let the sea roar and all that fills it,
 the coastlands and their inhabitants.
Let the desert and its towns lift up their voice,
 the villages that Kedar inhabits;
let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy,
 let them shout from the tops of the mountains.
Let them give glory to the Lord,
 and declare his praise in the coastlands.
The Lord goes forth like a soldier,
 like a warrior he stirs up his fury;
he cries out, he shouts aloud,
 he shows himself mighty against his foes.

For a long time I have held my peace,
 I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in labor,
 I will gasp and pant.
I will lay waste mountains and hills,
 and dry up all their herbage;
I will turn the rivers into islands,
 and dry up the pools.
I will lead the blind by a road they do not know,
 by paths they have not known I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
 the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do,
 and I will not forsake them.
They shall be turned back and utterly put to shame—
 those who trust in carved images,
who say to cast images,
 “You are our gods.”

Listen, you that are deaf;
 and you that are blind, look up and see!

Psalm 80:1-7

Psalm-80_3.jpg

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
 you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
 and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
 how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
 and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
 our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:32-39

But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and persecution, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion for those who were in prison, and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting. Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet

“in a very little while,¹
 the one who is coming will come and will not delay;²
but my righteous one will live by faith.
 My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back.³”

But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.

¹Isaiah 26:20   ²Habakkuk 2:3   Habakkuk 2:4

Year C Advent 4 Friday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.


Image credit: The background image is a public domain photo downloaded from Pixabay. Text was added by Michael Gilbertson.

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Thursday: Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 31:31-34

Jeremiah_31_33.jpg

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Psalm 80:1-7

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
 you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
 and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
 how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
 and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
 our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:10-18

And it is by God's will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them
 after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
 and I will write them on their minds,¹”

he also adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.²”

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

¹Jeremiah 31:33 (in today's Hebrew Scripture Lesson)   ²Jeremiah 31:34 (in today's Hebrew Scripture Lesson)

Year C Advent 4 Thursday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.

Image credit: Jeremiah 31:33 downloaded December 2015 from Verse of the Day on MaxDMorin.com

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Wednesday: Reflection on the Third Sunday in Advent

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Micah 4:8-13

And you, O tower of the flock,
 hill of daughter Zion,
to you it shall come,
 the former dominion shall come,
 the sovereignty of daughter Jerusalem.

Now why do you cry aloud?
 Is there no king in you?
Has your counselor perished,
 that pangs have seized you like a woman in labor?
Writhe and groan, O daughter Zion,
 like a woman in labor;
for now you shall go forth from the city
 and camp in the open country;
 you shall go to Babylon.
There you shall be rescued,
 there the Lord will redeem you
 from the hands of your enemies.

Now many nations
 are assembled against you,
saying, “Let her be profaned,
 and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.”
But they do not know
 the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand his plan,
 that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor.
Arise and thresh,
 O daughter Zion,
for I will make your horn iron
 and your hoofs bronze;
you shall beat in pieces many peoples,
 and shall devote their gain to the Lord,
 their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.

Canticle from The Latter Prophets: Isaiah 11:1-9

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
 and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall 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.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
 or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
 and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
 and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.¹
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
 and faithfulness the belt around his loins.²

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
 the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
 and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
 their young shall lie down together;
 and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
 and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
They will not hurt or destroy
 on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
 as the waters cover the sea.

¹Paul uses this (from but with righteousness … kill the wicked) in his discussion of the Day of the Lord in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
²Paul uses this sentence, among other images, to describe preparation for spiritual warfare in
Ephesians 6:10-20.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 7:31-35

[Jesus is speaking to the crowd about John, after John's messengers have left.]

John the Baptist hails Jesus as the Messiah to two of his discip

“To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
 we wailed, and you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

Year C Advent 3 Wednesday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: John the Baptist hails Jesus as the Messiah to two of his disciples, engraving by J. Outrim, 1847, after T. Uwins, via Wikimedia Commons. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Third Sunday in Advent

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Torah: Numbers 16:20-35

Then the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying: Separate yourselves from this congregation, so that I may consume them in a moment. They fell on their faces, and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one person sin and you become angry with the whole congregation?”

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Say to the congregation: Get away from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. So Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram; the elders of Israel followed him. He said to the congregation, “Turn away from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, or you will be swept away for all their sins.” So they got away from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the entrance of their tents, together with their wives, their children, and their little ones. And Moses said, “This is how you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works; it has not been of my own accord: If these people die a natural death, or if a natural fate comes on them, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up, with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the Lord.”

As soon as he finished speaking all these words, the ground under them was split apart. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, along with their households—everyone who belonged to Korah and all their goods. So they with all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol; the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. All Israel around them fled at their outcry, for they said, “The earth will swallow us too!” And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the two hundred fifty men offering the incense.

Canticle from The Latter Prophets: Isaiah 11:1-9

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
 and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall 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.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
 or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
 and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
 and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.¹
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
 and faithfulness the belt around his loins.²

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
 the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
 and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
 their young shall lie down together;
 and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
 and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
They will not hurt or destroy
 on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
 as the waters cover the sea.

¹Paul uses this (from but with righteousness … kill the wicked) in his discussion of the Day of the Lord in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
²Paul uses this sentence, among other images, to describe preparation for spiritual warfare in
Ephesians 6:10-20.

New Testament Lesson: Acts 28:23-31

Apostle Paul Preaching on the Ruins

After they [the leaders of the Roman Jews] had set a day to meet with Paul, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets. Some were convinced by what he had said, while others refused to believe. So they disagreed with each other; and as they were leaving, Paul made one further statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah,

‘Go to this people and say,
You will indeed listen, but never understand,
 and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people's heart has grown dull,
 and their ears are hard of hearing,
  and they have shut their eyes;
  so that they might not look with their eyes,
 and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn—
 and I would heal them.’¹

Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”

He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

¹Isaiah 6:9-10

Year C Advent 3 Tuesday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The The Holy Bible: New International Version ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: Apostle Paul Preaching on the Ruins by Giovanni Paolo Pannini, via Wikimedia.org. This is a public domain image.

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Monday: Reflection on the Third Sunday in Advent

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Torah: Numbers 16:1-19

Now Korah son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—descendants of Reuben—took two hundred fifty Israelite men, leaders of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men, and they confronted Moses. They assembled against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, “You have gone too far! All the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and the Lord is among them. So why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” When Moses heard it, he fell on his face. Then he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the Lord will make known who is his, and who is holy, and who will be allowed to approach him; the one whom he will choose he will allow to approach him.¹ Do this: take censers, Korah and all your company, and tomorrow put fire in them, and lay incense on them before the Lord; and the man whom the Lord chooses shall be the holy one. You Levites have gone too far!” Then Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you Levites! Is it too little for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to allow you to approach him in order to perform the duties of the Lord's tabernacle, and to stand before the congregation and serve them? He has allowed you to approach him, and all your brother Levites with you; yet you seek the priesthood as well! Therefore you and all your company have gathered together against the Lord. What is Aaron that you rail against him?”

Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab; but they said, “We will not come! Is it too little that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness, that you must also lord it over us? It is clear you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Would you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come!”

Moses was very angry and said to the Lord, “Pay no attention to their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, and I have not harmed any one of them.” And Moses said to Korah, “As for you and all your company, be present tomorrow before the Lord, you and they and Aaron; and let each one of you take his censer, and put incense on it, and each one of you present his censer before the Lord, two hundred fifty censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.” So each man took his censer, and they put fire in the censers and laid incense on them, and they stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. Then Korah assembled the whole congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole congregation.

¹Paul refers to this verse in his advice to Timothy about false teachers (2 Timothy 2:14-26).

Canticle from The Latter Prophets: Isaiah 11:1-9

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
 and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall 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.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
 or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
 and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
 and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.¹
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
 and faithfulness the belt around his loins.²

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
 the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
 and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
 their young shall lie down together;
 and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
 and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
They will not hurt or destroy
 on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
 as the waters cover the sea.

¹Paul uses this (from but with righteousness … kill the wicked) in his discussion of the Day of the Lord in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
²Paul uses this sentence, among other images, to describe preparation for spiritual warfare in
Ephesians 6:10-20.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 13:7-17

Christ Before the High Priest

Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them. We have an altar from which those who officiate in the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with sighing—for that would be harmful to you.

Year C Advent 3 Monday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: Christ Before the High Priest by Gerrit Van Honthorst, digital assetmanagement site. This is a public domain image.

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