Gospel reading for Mass on 21st December

Luke 1:39-45

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah.

She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

~ Translation of Scriptures: the Jerusalem Bible © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman  &  Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of  Random House, Inc.
~ Photograph: (c) 2018, Allen Morris. Musee des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux.


Gospel reading for the 4th Sunday of Advent

The Gospel this Sunday gives account to the Lord’s taking flesh in/of the Virgin Mary.

For 9 months Mary will carry our Saviour in her womb, cherishing the life, nourishing him from her body.

But Mary is more than simply the place of conception, and mother to the baby – worthy enough as those roles are. She is also a model for discipleship, a model of living in response to God’s love and faithfulness, and witness to other of that glory.

We see aspects of that in her response to Gabriel, and her willingness to serve in the way that she confirms to the angel.

It is maybe even better witnessed to in the Mystery of the Visitation – an account of which follows in Luke’s Gospel after this Sunday’s reading. There Mary evidences love of God and love of neighbour – and gives to us a song that the Church sings to this day in her evening prayer.

One fine way of spending in time in prayer in these coming days before Christmas is to pray the Rosary. Some help is available here for those who are not familiar with the prayer, or would like a fresh approach.

Living Eucharist – in its usual form – is taking a holiday from today until the weekend of the 2nd/3rd January. Between now and then, each day, there will simply be a posting of the Gospel of the day.

Have a happy Christmas when it comes and may the Christmas season fill you with hope and confidence as we enter 2021.

Luke 1:26-38
Gospel reading for the 4th 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)

Birth of Jesus Foretold

1.26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47  and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48  for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49  for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50  And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51  He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52  he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53  he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54  He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55  as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph:© 2016, Allen Morris. Stained glass, Slipper Chapel, Walsingham.

Second reading for the 4th Sunday of Advent

St Nicholas, Boldmere

Our second reading at Mass this coming weekend will be the tail-end of St Paul’s letter to the Romans.

In the Letter Paul has given us his most substantial account of the saving work of Jesus and our participation in it.

The verses we hear on Sunday come after verses, given below, in which Paul acknowledges and gives thanks for all those who have worked with him in the common cause of witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And there are many of them.

The same is likely to be the case also in our parishes, communities that are established to promote faithful living and effective witness to the love of God to those who do not yet know him, or place their trust in him.

Missionary disciples is what Pope Francis says we are called to be.

Effective mission relies on many hands being available, sharing their various…

View original post 760 more words

Responsorial Psalm for 4th Sunday of Advent

The Psalm the church sings at Mass this Sunday – even if most of us earthly congregants are confined to saying it! – is a much reduced version of the source-psalm, a psalm of praise, and confession of faith – but also of worry and confusion.

The need for such trimming is maybe self-evident, but in our more private reflection we have the advantage of being able to linger over more of its verses… (and complexity of thought and feeling beyond what is presented in the Lectionary).

The psalm praises the One God, the God of Israel, who holds David close and safe, and makes covenant with him to cherish and keep safe his descendnts.

We who are spiritual descendants, joined with Israel, through Jesus, Son of David, do well to rejoice at the blessings we too share in.

Towards its end the psalm moves into lament, placing before God the trials and tribulations of the people. We would do well to do the same, not least this year as we grapple still with things that cause of suffering – for example, the Pandemic; failures in the Church to protect the vulnerable and bring the guilty to justice; economic pressures on families, especially where work has dried up because of the health crisis; loneliness; sickness. There are so many things.

In the Psalm it is as though David then runs out of words but, after some pause, returns quietly to praise God, who he continues to find steadfast in his commitment to his people.

Actually the last line of the psalm is not part of the psalm at all, but a prose conclusion to the third book of the Psalter as presented in the Scriptures.

The Psalm itself ends, in fact, mid lament.

  • Where are we in our ‘talk’ with God?
  • Mid lament?
  • Not daring yet to bring our lament to God?
  • Able to reaffirm God’s trustworthiness despite everything ?

Speak with God about that – about how your relationship with God has developed over this past year.

Psalm 88(89):2-5,27,29
Responsorial Psalm for the 4th 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)

Psalm 89 (88)

1 A Maskil. For Ethan the Ezrahite.

2 I will sing for ever of your mercies, O LORD;
through all ages my mouth will proclaim your fidelity.
3 I have declared your mercy is established for ever;
your fidelity stands firm as the heavens.

4 ‘With my chosen one I have made a covenant;
I have sworn to David my servant:
5 I will establish your descendants for ever,
and set up your throne through all ages.’

6 The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD,
your fidelity, too, in the assembly of your holy ones.
7  For who in the skies can compare with the LORD,
or who is like the LORD among the heavenly powers?
8 A God to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and wondrous above all around him.

9 O LORD God of hosts, who is your equal?
You are mighty, O LORD, and fidelity surrounds you.
10 It is you who rule the raging of the sea;
it is you who still the surging of its waves.
11 It is you who crush Rahab underfoot like a corpse;
you scatter your foes with your mighty arm.

12 The heavens are yours, the earth is yours;
you have founded the world and its fullness;
13 it is you who created the North and the South.
Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at your name.

14 Yours is a mighty arm.
Your hand is strong; your right hand is exalted.
15 Uprightness and justice are the pillars of your throne;
mercy and fidelity walk in your presence.

16 How blessed the people who know your praise,
who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face,
17 who find their joy every day in your name,
who make your uprightness their joyful acclaim.

18 For you are the glory of their strength;
by your favour it is that our might is exalted.
19 Behold, the LORD is our shield;
he is the Holy One of Israel, our king.

20 Then you spoke in a vision.
To your faithful ones you said,
‘I have bestowed my help on a warrior,
I have exalted one chosen from the people.

21 I have found my servant David,
and with my holy oil anointed him.
22 My hand shall always be with him,
and my arm shall make him strong.

23 The enemy shall never outwit him,
nor shall the son of iniquity humble him.
24 I will beat down his foes before him,
and those who hate him I will strike.

25 My mercy and my faithfulness shall be with him;
by my name his might shall be exalted.
26 I will stretch out his hand to the Sea,
and his right hand upon the Rivers.

27 He will call out to me, “You are my father,
my God, the rock of my salvation”.

28 I for my part will make him my firstborn,
the highest of the kings of the earth.

29 I will keep my faithful love for him always;
with him my covenant shall last.

30 I will establish his descendants for ever,
and his throne as lasting as the days of heaven.

31 If his descendants forsake my law
and refuse to walk as I decree,
32 and if ever they violate my statutes,
failing to keep my commands:

33 Then I will punish their offenses with the rod;
then I will scourge them on account of their guilt.
34 But I will never take back my mercy;
my fidelity will never fail.
35 I will never violate my covenant,
nor go back on the promise of my lips.

36 Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness.
“I will never lie to David.
37 His descendants shall continue for ever.
In my sight his throne is like the sun;
38 like the moon, it shall endure for ever,
a faithful witness in the heavens.”’

39 But yet you have spurned and rejected,
you are angry with the one you have anointed.
40 You have renounced your covenant with your servant,
and dishonoured his crown in the dust.

41 You have broken down all his walls,
and reduced his fortresses to ruins.
42 All who pass by despoil him;
he has become the taunt of his neighbours.

43 You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
you have made all his enemies rejoice.
44 You have turned back the edge of his sword;
you have not upheld him in battle.

45 You have brought his glory to an end;
you have hurled his throne to the ground.
46 You have cut short the days of his youth;
you have heaped disgrace upon him.

47 How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself for ever?
How long will your anger burn like a fire?
48 Remember the shortness of my life,
and how frail you have made the children of Adam.
49 What man can live and never see death?
Who can save himself from the grasp of Sheol?

50 Where are your mercies of the past, O Lord,
which you swore in your faithfulness to David?
51 Remember, O Lord, the taunts to your servant,
how I bear in my breast the scorn of many peoples.
52 Thus your enemies lift up a taunt, O LORD,
taunting your anointed at every step.

* * *

[53] Blest be the LORD for ever.
Amen and amen!

~ Translation of Psalm: From Abbey Psalms and Canticles, prepared by the monks of Conception Abbey © 2008, 2010 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC ~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph:© 2018, Allen Morris. Sacre Coeur, Paris.

First reading for 4th Sunday of Advent

St Nicholas, Boldmere

King David is attentive to movement of spirits in his heart! Sometimes this is for ill – when it leads to the seducation of Bathsheeba and the murder of her husband. Sometimes it breaks our heart – as when he grieves at his betrayal by his son and then mourns his death. And here, where moved to fresh love of God, he decides to build God a temple.

God’s prophet is pleased at the proposal. But God is more concerned about impressing on David what God will do for David, than concerned about what God will will do for David.

  • What do you know God does for you?
  • How do you express your gratitude?

2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16
First reading for the 4th 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…

View original post 904 more words

Collect for the 4th Sunday of Advent

St Nicholas, Boldmere

The Collect for this Sunday will be familiar to many as being a Collect prayed as part of the Angelus devotion

. The Angel of the LORD declared unto Mary,
. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace;
the LORD is with thee:
blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now
and at the hour of our death.

. Behold the handmaid of the LORD.
. Be it done unto me according to thy word.

Hail Mary…

. And the Word was made flesh.
. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary…

. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray,
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O LORD,
Thy grace into our hearts;

View original post 308 more words

Gospel for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

At Mass on Christmas Day we may hear part of the prologue of John’s Gospel. This Sunday we hear the other part. On Christmas Day the reading speaks of the Incarnation: this Sunday’s Gospel speaks of John and his witness to the Christ who comes to us.

The Prologue is followed by stories of people meeting with Jesus and choosing to follow him and become disciples.

But today the focus is on John the Baptist as witness to Christ, and as a model of humility for others to follow.

  • What most impresses you about John?
  • What witness to Jesus do you yourself give?

John 1:6-8,19-28
Gospel 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 Word Became Flesh
1.1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

The Testimony of John the Baptist
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Behold, the Lamb of God
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Jesus Calls the First Disciples
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph:© 2019, Allen Morris. Toulouse, Musee Des Augustins 2018

Second reading for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

We receive a bunch of injunctions from St Paul – do this, do that, and don’t forget the other.

This is not Paul being bossy or throwing his weight about: simply these are wise words from someone who knows what can help us receive the fullness of the good gifts offered us in Christ.

  • What might hold you back from the gifts of God?
  • Which of the encouragements offered by St Paul are you least likely to take up, and why?
  • Which are you most likely to take up, and why?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Second 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 Day of the Lord
5.1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Final Instructions and Benediction
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.  

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

25 Brothers, pray for us.
26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
27 I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph:© 2015, Allen Morris. Stained glass, Colombiers, Beziers, France.

Responsorial Psalm for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

The Church’s song in this Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word is Mary’s song, the Magnificat, sung in response to Elizabeth’s greeting, and recognition of the presence of the Lord Jesus in his mother’s womb.

In Advent we wait for what is to come: Mary, in her song, gives thanks for what has been and what presently is.

May her prayer and her example nudge us in that same direction too.

Luke 1:46-50, 53-54
Responsorial Psalm 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)

Canticle of Mary (Magnificat)

46 My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 For he has looked upon his handmaid in her lowliness;
for behold, from this day forward,
all generations will call me blessed.

49 For the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is from age to age
for those who fear him.

51 He has made known the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit of heart.  
52 He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has exalted those who are lowly.

53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
and has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
mindful of his mercy,

55 Even as he promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his descendants for ever.

~ Translation of Psalm: From Abbey Psalms and Canticles, prepared by the monks of Conception Abbey © 2008, 2010 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC
~ Commentary: © 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph:© 2014, Allen Morris. Carving, Cloister, St Trophime, Arles, France.


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.

~ 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