Adv3B20. Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11. The Lord God has anointed the prophet Isaiah to proclaim a year of favor to reconstruct what was broken; to enable those who were unable, since they were without adequate resources; to free those who were bound up or held back so that all may be made whole and productive. The prophet rejoices from the depths of his heart in his God who works such wonders. The Lord God has made him glorious like a garden that bears new growth out of what was barren before. All nations will be will be amazed at the glorious work of the Lord God.
Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54. In these verses from the Magnificat Mary exults in the spectacular work of the Lord in her. She rejoices that God has filled her lowliness with his magnificent blessing on her. The Almighty has used his might to raise her up from her relative insignificance, someone who was not worthy of anyone to pay any attention to her, by the great things he has done for her.
John 1:6-8, 19-28. As Isaiah was sent from God, so was John the Baptist. He witnesses, declares, testifies to the coming of the Lord God into this world. At first the representatives from the Sadducees, then those from the Pharisees question John. John declares that he has the same task that Isaiah had, i.e., to prepare the way of the Lord. The Pharisees ask John as to how he has the right to purify or baptize. John answers that his baptism is only by water. The baptism that has divine power belongs to the one who is now following him, one who is far greater than he. Our first reading from Isaiah proclaimed that God was about to do something wondrous. In the Magnificat Mary rejoices in what a spectacular thing God has done in her. In this gospel reading John the Baptist prepares the Jewish nation to receive their Messiah, the light who will take away the darkness.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24. In this conclusion to his letter Paul encourages the Thessalonians to maintain order in their church community so to be found holy at the coming of the Lord. This reading continues the theme of this Sunday’s reading to joyfully ready oneself to greet the coming Savior.