Isaiah’s writings are featured in the first three Sundays of this Advent Season. His theme is the progressive development of an attitude in the Israelites of repentance for turning away from God (and His consequential punishment of them via occupation, slavery, and dissipation across the Middle East. He provides hope for the Israelites at the same time reminding them that if they will return to their God and do His Will God will restore them to their homeland and they shall experience a wonderful good fortune as only God can provide. The crowning event in these prophetic writings is described in Samuel’s prophecy of David as the Israelite King who unites the entire people.
The second readings are taken from three different letters from St. Paul as well as one from St. Peter. The theme stresses the positive – we can be ready to enter the New Earth. God has provided to each of us, through Jesus and His teachings as proclaimed by the Apostles, the strengths, courage, wisdom, and endurance we may find required of us to make us ready for the New Earth. The messages are both cautious yet upbeat. The lector’s task is to sound the warning to all of us that God expects our repentance. The ancient stories have their modern counterparts – we just need to recognize them. Further, God’s Kingdom is all around us if we would open our eyes to it. Encourage your listener’s to heed God, change the behaviors that need changing, and prepare to rejoice in the new world of God’s Kingdom on earth.
The Gospels from Mark, John and Luke progressively describe the events we must expect in our lives: the need to be alert for the coming of Jesus as Lord; prophets extolling us to change our ways – to reject the enticements of the “world” and become the truly mature creatures God intends us to be. The progression concludes with a description of Mary’s encounter with an angel and her coming pregnancy as God’s Will for her as a representative of all humanity. The statements used are strong ones; in some cases they are bold; in all is the growing assurance of God for humankind that we will become the mature creatures He intends.
The proclaimer’s task is to present the stories with as much emotion, firmness, and exhortation as he or she can muster. Be a leader the assembled listeners can follow as the Christmas Season comes closer and closer with all its expectant joy, enthusiasm, and good will.
For more information on this season read a brief article at this website: www.crivoice.org/cyadvent.html.
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