Word of the day
Reading of the day
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah
Raise a glad cry, you barren one who did not bear,
Break forth in jubilant song, you who were not in labor,
For more numerous are the children of the deserted wife
than the children of her who has a husband,
says the Lord.
Enlarge the space for your tent,
spread out your tent cloths unsparingly;
lengthen your ropes and make firm your stakes.
For you shall spread abroad to the right and to the left;
your descendants shall dispossess the nations
and shall people the desolate cities.
Fear not, you shall not be put to shame;
you need not blush, for you shall not be disgraced.
The shame of your youth you shall forget,
the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember.
For he who has become your husband is your Maker;
his name is the Lord of hosts;
Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
called God of all the earth.
The Lord calls you back,
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
A wife married in youth and then cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back.
In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
I hid my face from you;
But with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the Lord, your redeemer.
This is for me like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah
should never again deluge the earth;
So I have sworn not to be angry with you,
or to rebuke you.
Though the mountains leave their place
and the hills be shaken,
My love shall never leave you
nor my covenant of peace be shaken,
says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
Gospel of the day
From the Gospel according to Luke
When the messengers of John the Baptist had left,
Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John.
“What did you go out to the desert to see a reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine garments?
Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously
are found in royal palaces.
Then what did you go out to see?
A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom Scripture says:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
he will prepare your way before you.
I tell you,
among those born of women, no one is greater than John;
yet the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.”
(All the people who listened, including the tax collectors,
who were baptized with the baptism of John,
acknowledged the righteousness of God;
but the Pharisees and scholars of the law,
who were not baptized by him,
rejected the plan of God for themselves.)
Words of the Holy Father
He preached boldly, said harsh things to the Pharisees, to the doctors and teachers of the law. He didn’t say to them: ‘Gentlemen, behave yourselves’. No. He simply called them a ‘brood of vipers’”. With those who came to him, “but never with an open heart”, John never minced his words: he was always forthright: “Brood of vipers”! This meant “he was risking his life, yes, but he was faithful”. He treated King Herod in the same way, calling him “to his face”: ‘Adulterer! It is not right to live thus, adulterer!’”. Of course, if in today’s Sunday homily, a pastor says: ‘among you there are a brood of vipers and many adulterers’”, his bishop “would receive letters of concern: ‘You’re sending us this priest who insults us!’”. In reality, John insulted people because he was “faithful to his vocation and to the truth. (Santa Marta, 15 December 2016)
- Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.