First reading for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

Back in the 1970s a compilation movie called That’s Entertainment, made up of extracts from MGM musical films, was launched under the tag-line: “Boy, do we need it now”.

For some reason the tag-line lodged in my memory.

As we come to the end of this first year of the global pandemic – with all sorts of hopes that now the worst may be behind us, but with little certainty yet that this will be the case – boy, do we need something to lift our spirits now.

Isaiah does not offer us ‘entertainment’ to lift the spirits, but hope, a fresh testimony to God’s goodness, and a reminder that we are not to be passive recipients of this goodness, but to be active witnesses to it, and ministers of it.

In this lies our joy and our liberation.

Isaiah 61:1-2,10-11
First reading for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)

The Year of the Lord’s Favour

61.1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2  to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;

3  to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
4  They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

5  Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your ploughmen and vinedressers;
6  but you shall be called the priests of the LORD;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
7  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonour they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.

8  For I the LORD love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9  Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed.

10  I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11  For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.




Acknowledgements
~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph:© 2018, Allen Morris St Pierre de Montmartre, Paris
 

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