Carry the Word with you
First reading of the day:
Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins.
A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
A voice says, “Cry out!” I answer, “What shall I cry out?” “All flesh is grass, and all their glory like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower wilts, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it. So then, the people is the grass. Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever.”
Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom,
Gospel reading of the day:
Jesus said to his disciples: “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”
Reflection on the gospel of the day: Our waiting for Jesus in Advent is a renewal of hope as the gospel reminds us that it is not the will of our heavenly Father that even one of us be lost. The evidence of God’s relationship to us and God’s desire for our salvation is all around us. It is woven into the fabric of our lives that God is working to make us whole and happy. We only have to stop, look, and think, and we shall find God there, telling us things that we perhaps take for granted but things which are life affirming and life saving when we consider them in the awareness that not one of us is anything other than the keenest point of God’s awareness and work. We watch and wait not for judgment and doom but for compassion and grace. Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever.