December 16th, 2018

Gaudete (Advent 3)

Explanation of the Week

The voice of the Baptizer cried out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord . . ." (Is 40:1-8). John called the people to be made ready for the Messiah's coming through repentance, for "all flesh is grass." Now He asks from prison, "Are you the Coming One?" (Mt 11:2-10) Jesus' works bear witness that He is. The sick are made well; the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. Their iniquity is pardoned; they have received from the Lord's hand double forgiveness for all their sins. The stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor 4:1-5) still deliver Christ's overflowing forgiveness to the poor in spirit, comforting God's people with the word of the Gospel which stands forever. This Gospel produces rejoicing among those who believe. For in it, "the Lord is at hand" (Introit).


Rejoice in the Lord | always.*
     Again will I | say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to | all men.*
     The Lord | is at hand. (Philippians 4:4-5)

LORD, You have been favourable | to Your land;*
     You have brought back the captivity of | Jacob.
You have forgiven the iniquity of Your | people;*
     You have covered | all their sin.
Will You not revive | us again,*
     that Your people may re- | joice in You?
I will hear what God the | Lord will speak,*
     for He will speak peace to His | people. (Psalm 85:1-2, 6, 8)

Collect (LSB)

Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect (TLH)

Lord, we beseech Thee, give ear to our prayers and lighten the darkness of our hearts by Thy gracious visitation; who livest and reignest with Thee and the Holy Ghost ever one god, world without end. Amen.

Collecta Latina

Aurem tuam quaesumus Domine precibus nostris accommoda, et menti nostrae tenebras gratia tuae visitationis illustra, Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus. Per omnia secula seculorum, Amen.

Old Testament (LSB): Isaiah 40:1-11

Comfort for God's People

 1 Comfort, comfort my people,
       says your God.

 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
       and proclaim to her
       that her hard service has been completed,
       that her sin has been paid for,
       that she has received from the LORD's hand
       double for all her sins.

 3 A voice of one calling:
       "In the desert prepare
       the way for the LORD [a] ;
       make straight in the wilderness
       a highway for our God. [b]

 4 Every valley shall be raised up,
       every mountain and hill made low;
       the rough ground shall become level,
       the rugged places a plain.

 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
       and all mankind together will see it.
       For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

 6 A voice says, "Cry out."
       And I said, "What shall I cry?"
       "All men are like grass,
       and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.

 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
       because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
       Surely the people are grass.

 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
       but the word of our God stands forever."

 9 You who bring good tidings to Zion,
       go up on a high mountain.
       You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, [c]
       lift up your voice with a shout,
       lift it up, do not be afraid;
       say to the towns of Judah,
       "Here is your God!"

 10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,
       and his arm rules for him.
       See, his reward is with him,
       and his recompense accompanies him.

 11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
       He gathers the lambs in his arms
       and carries them close to his heart;
       he gently leads those that have young.

Footnotes:Isaiah 40:3 Or A voice of one calling in the desert: / "Prepare the way for the LORD Isaiah 40:3 Hebrew; Septuagint make straight the paths of our God Isaiah 40:9 Or O Zion, bringer of good tidings, / go up on a high mountain. / O Jerusalem, bringer of good tidings

Old Testament: Mal. 3:1-6

 1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.

 2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.

 5 "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty.

Robbing God
 6 "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.


You who dwell between the cherubim, | shine forth!*
     Stir up Your | strength and come!
Give ear, O Shepherd of | Israel,*
     You who lead Joseph | like a flock. (Psalm 80:1–2)

Epistle: 1 Cor. 4:1-5

Apostles of Christ

 1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.


Alle- | luia.*
     Alle- | luia.
Stir | up Your strength,*
     and come and save us! Alle- | luia. (Psalm 80:2)

Gospel: Matt. 11:2-10

 2When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"

 4Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a]are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."

 7As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces. 9Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written:
   " 'I will send my messenger ahead of you,
      who will prepare your way before you.'[b]

Footnotes:Matthew 11:5 The Greek word was used for various diseases affecting the skin—not necessarily leprosy. Matthew 11:10 Mal. 3:1


LORD, You have been favourable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people. (Psalm 85)

Matins Psalm(s): Ps. 4

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.

 1 Answer me when I call to you,
       O my righteous God.
       Give me relief from my distress;
       be merciful to me and hear my prayer.

 2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame [a] ?
       How long will you love delusions and seek false gods [b] ?

 3 Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
       the LORD will hear when I call to him.

 4 In your anger do not sin;
       when you are on your beds,
       search your hearts and be silent.

 5 Offer right sacrifices
       and trust in the LORD.

 6 Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?"
       Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.

 7 You have filled my heart with greater joy
       than when their grain and new wine abound.

 8 I will lie down and sleep in peace,
       for you alone, O LORD,
       make me dwell in safety.

Footnotes:Psalm 4:2 Or you dishonor my Glorious One Psalm 4:2 Or seek lies

First Reading: Is. 32:1-20

The Kingdom of Righteousness

 1 See, a king will reign in righteousness
       and rulers will rule with justice.

 2 Each man will be like a shelter from the wind
       and a refuge from the storm,
       like streams of water in the desert
       and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

 3 Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
       and the ears of those who hear will listen.

 4 The mind of the rash will know and understand,
       and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.

 5 No longer will the fool be called noble
       nor the scoundrel be highly respected.

 6 For the fool speaks folly,
       his mind is busy with evil:
       He practices ungodliness
       and spreads error concerning the LORD;
       the hungry he leaves empty
       and from the thirsty he withholds water.

 7 The scoundrel's methods are wicked,
       he makes up evil schemes
       to destroy the poor with lies,
       even when the plea of the needy is just.

 8 But the noble man makes noble plans,
       and by noble deeds he stands.

The Women of Jerusalem

 9 You women who are so complacent,
       rise up and listen to me;
       you daughters who feel secure,
       hear what I have to say!

 10 In little more than a year
       you who feel secure will tremble;
       the grape harvest will fail,
       and the harvest of fruit will not come.

 11 Tremble, you complacent women;
       shudder, you daughters who feel secure!
       Strip off your clothes,
       put sackcloth around your waists.

 12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
       for the fruitful vines

 13 and for the land of my people,
       a land overgrown with thorns and briers—
       yes, mourn for all houses of merriment
       and for this city of revelry.

 14 The fortress will be abandoned,
       the noisy city deserted;
       citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever,
       the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,

 15 till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
       and the desert becomes a fertile field,
       and the fertile field seems like a forest.

 16 Justice will dwell in the desert
       and righteousness live in the fertile field.

 17 The fruit of righteousness will be peace;
       the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.

 18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
       in secure homes,
       in undisturbed places of rest.

 19 Though hail flattens the forest
       and the city is leveled completely,

 20 how blessed you will be,
       sowing your seed by every stream,
       and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.

Vespers Psalm(s): Ps. 98

A psalm.

 1 Sing to the LORD a new song,
       for he has done marvelous things;
       his right hand and his holy arm
       have worked salvation for him.

 2 The LORD has made his salvation known
       and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

 3 He has remembered his love
       and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
       all the ends of the earth have seen
       the salvation of our God.

 4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
       burst into jubilant song with music;

 5 make music to the LORD with the harp,
       with the harp and the sound of singing,

 6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn—
       shout for joy before the LORD, the King.

 7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
       the world, and all who live in it.

 8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
      Let the mountains sing together for joy; 9 let them sing before the LORD,
       for he comes to judge the earth.
       He will judge the world in righteousness
       and the peoples with equity.

Second Reading: Rev. 4:1-11

The Throne in Heaven

 1After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." 2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. 4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits[a] of God. 6Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

   In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." 9Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
 11"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
   to receive glory and honor and power,
   for you created all things,
      and by your will they were created
      and have their being."

Footnotes:Revelation 4:5 Or the sevenfold Spirit


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