December 23rd, 2017

Saturday of Gaudete (Advent 3)

First Reading: Is. 43:25-44:20

25 “ I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;
      And I will not remember your sins.
       26 Put Me in remembrance;
      Let us contend together;
      State your case, that you may be acquitted.
       27 Your first father sinned,
      And your mediators have transgressed against Me.
       28 Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary;
      I will give Jacob to the curse,
      And Israel to reproaches.

God’s Blessing on Israel
 1 “Yet hear me now, O Jacob My servant,
      And Israel whom I have chosen.
       2 Thus says the LORD who made you
      And formed you from the womb, who will help you:
      ‘ Fear not, O Jacob My servant;
      And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
       3 For I will pour water on him who is thirsty,
      And floods on the dry ground;
      I will pour My Spirit on your descendants,
      And My blessing on your offspring;
       4 They will spring up among the grass
      Like willows by the watercourses.’
       5 One will say, ‘I am the LORD’s’;
      Another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
      Another will write with his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’
      And name himself by the name of Israel.
There Is No Other God
    6 “ Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel,
      And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
      ‘ I am the First and I am the Last;
      Besides Me there is no God.
       7 And who can proclaim as I do?
      Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me,
      Since I appointed the ancient people.
      And the things that are coming and shall come,
      Let them show these to them.
       8 Do not fear, nor be afraid;
      Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?
      You are My witnesses.
      Is there a God besides Me?
      Indeed there is no other Rock;
      I know not one.’”
Idolatry Is Foolishness
    9 Those who make an image, all of them are useless,
      And their precious things shall not profit;
      They are their own witnesses;
      They neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed.
       10 Who would form a god or mold an image
      Thatprofits him nothing?
       11 Surely all his companions would be ashamed;
      And the workmen, they are mere men.
      Let them all be gathered together,
      Let them stand up;
      Yet they shall fear,
      They shall be ashamed together.
       12 The blacksmith with the tongs works one in the coals,
      Fashions it with hammers,
      And works it with the strength of his arms.
      Even so, he is hungry, and his strength fails;
      He drinks no water and is faint.
       13 The craftsman stretches out his rule,
      He marks one out with chalk;
      He fashions it with a plane,
      He marks it out with the compass,
      And makes it like the figure of a man,
      According to the beauty of a man, that it may remain in the house.
       14 He cuts down cedars for himself,
      And takes the cypress and the oak;
      He secures it for himself among the trees of the forest.
      He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it.
       15 Then it shall be for a man to burn,
      For he will take some of it and warm himself;
      Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread;
      Indeed he makes a god and worships it;
      He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it.
       16 He burns half of it in the fire;
      With this half he eats meat;
      He roasts a roast, and is satisfied.
      He even warms himself and says,
      “ Ah! I am warm,
      I have seen the fire.”
       17 And the rest of it he makes into a god,
      His carved image.
      He falls down before it and worships it,
      Prays to it and says,
      “ Deliver me, for you are my god!”
       18 They do not know nor understand;
      For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see,
      And their hearts, so that they cannot understand.
       19 And no one considers in his heart,
      Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say,
      “ I have burned half of it in the fire,
      Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals;
      I have roasted meat and eaten it;
      And shall I make the rest of it an abomination?
      Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”
       20 He feeds on ashes;
      A deceived heart has turned him aside;
      And he cannot deliver his soul,
      Nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

Second Reading: Rev. 11:1-19

The Two Witnesses

 1 Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood,[a] saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2 But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God[b] of the earth. 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. 6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.

The Witnesses Killed

    7 When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our[c] Lord was crucified. 9 Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow[d] their dead bodies to be put into graves. 10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

The Witnesses Resurrected

    11 Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 And they[e] heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. 13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

Seventh Trumpet: The Kingdom Proclaimed

    15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms[f] of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:
      “ We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
      The One who is and who was and who is to come,[g]
      Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
       18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
      And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
      And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
      And those who fear Your name, small and great,
      And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” 19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant[h] was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

Footnotes:Revelation 11:1 NU-Text and M-Text omit And the angel stood. Revelation 11:4 NU-Text and M-Text read Lord. Revelation 11:8 NU-Text and M-Text read their. Revelation 11:9 NU-Text and M-Text read nations see . . . and will not allow. Revelation 11:12 M-Text reads I. Revelation 11:15 NU-Text and M-Text read kingdom . . . has become. Revelation 11:17 NU-Text and M-Text omit and who is to come. Revelation 11:19 M-Text reads the covenant of the Lord.


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