You can see all the lectionary readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year C by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Luke.
Mary travels to another town to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth feels her unborn baby leap up inside her at Mary’s voice and she is filled with the Holy Spirit.
She proclaims to Mary that she is blessed more than any other woman and that God has blessed her baby. She tells Mary that her baby jumped for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice. She says, “Great blessings are yours because you believed what the Lord said to you! You believed this would happen.”
This is Mary’s response–her Magnificat (song of praise.
“I praise the Lord with all my heart.Luke 1:46-55 (Easy-to-read version)
I am very happy because God is my Savior.
I am not important,
but he has shown his care for me, his lowly servant.
From now until the end of time,
people will remember how much God blessed me.
Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me.
His name is very holy.
He always gives mercy
to those who worship him.
He reached out his arm and showed his power.
He scattered those who are proud and think great things about themselves.
He brought down rulers from their thrones
and raised up the humble people.
He filled the hungry with good things,
but he sent the rich away with nothing.
God has helped Israel—the people he chose to serve him.
He did not forget his promise to give us his mercy.
He has done what he promised to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
Mary has obviously come to terms with the big news the angel Gabriel brought her. She is young and inexperienced; she has every reason to be terrified, but she is full of hope and trust that God knows what he is doing. She knows she is blessed and she celebrates the blessing and the hope that comes with it.
You can see all the lectionary readings for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year C by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Luke.
John is baptizing huge crowds at the river. He speaks harshly to them, calling them snakes and telling them to change their hearts and lives. They ask him what they should do.
He tells them if they have two shirts, they should share with someone who has none and to share food, too.
Tax collectors come and ask what to do and he tells them not to take more taxes than they are supposed to collect. Soldiers ask what to do and he tells them not to extort people for money by force.
People begin to speculate that John was the Messiah, but he tells them he baptizes in water but someone is coming who can do much more.
I am not good enough to be the slave who unties his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.Luke 3:16 (Easy-to-read version)
He continues to preach and baptize, calling on people to change and telling them the Good News.
This week of advent we see the importance of John the Baptist in preparing the way for Jesus, as we prepare our hearts for his arrival at Christmas. John emphasized repentance, a changing of the heart, and its evidence was in our behavior and good works. We are to share what we have and not use our privilege for evil. The emphasis is on love and caring as opposed to grasping and greed. Go and do likewise.
You can see all the lectionary readings for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year C by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Luke.
Today’s passage starts with establishing a time frame–the 15th year of the rule of Tiberius Caesar–and lists the rulers under Caesar and says that Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. Luke is carefully delineating where we are in history.
John the Baptist is beginning his ministry (though he’s not called that here–he’s called John, the son of Zechariah). He is living in the desert and receives a message from God, so he travels the area around the Jordan River to share God’s message. He calls on people to be baptized as a symbol of changing themselves and turning from sins so that their sins may be forgiven.
Then Luke quotes Isaiah:
“There is someone shouting in the desert:from Isaiah 20:3-5 and Luke 3:4-6
‘Prepare the way for the Lord.
Make the road straight for him.
Every valley will be filled,
and every mountain and hill will be made flat.
Crooked roads will be made straight,
and rough roads will be made smooth.
Then everyone will see
how God will save his people!’”
Luke is specifically calling out this ancient prophecy and connecting it to the new prophet of John the Baptist. John is the one shouting in the desert and preparing a way for the Lord Jesus. This second week of Advent is also a time of preparation for us. We are preparing for the coming of Christ both in the form of the celebration of Christmas and preparing for the eventual Second Coming. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!
You can see all the lectionary readings for the First Sunday of Advent, Year C by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Luke.
This blog has really helped me to have more of an appreciation for the lectionary–how the passages on a single Sunday relate to each other, how the story follows the life of Christ over the course of the year, and how the same week from different years can relate. For instance, last year’s First Sunday of Advent was a sort of apocalyptic passage with a theme of being ready at all times for the coming of Christ. And here as Advent and the new church year begins, we have the same theme. Amazing things and frightening things will happen, but don’t be afraid. Just pray and be ready. God’s kingdom is near.
You can read the passage here.