Imagine what it would feel like to be free after a life of prison. Certainly, emotions would be mixed. Exhilaration with anxiety, joy with apprehension. Isaiah spoke words of freedom to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. God would come and save them!
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak comfortably to Jerusalem; and call out to her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received of YHWHs hand double for all her sins.
3 The voice of one who calls out,
Prepare the way of YHWH in the wilderness! Make a level highway in the desert for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The uneven shall be made level and the rough places a plain.
5 The glory of YHWH shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of YHWH has spoken it.
40:9 You who tell good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who tell good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength. Lift it up. Dont be afraid. Say to the cities of Judah, Behold, your God! 10 Behold, the Lord YHWH will come as a mighty one, and his arm will rule for him. Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom. He will gently lead those who have their young.
85 is a song of extreme confidence in the Lord. What he did once, he will do again!
For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by the sons of Korah.
1 YHWH, you have been favorable to your land.
You have restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You have forgiven the iniquity of your people.
You have covered all their sin.
3 You have taken away all your wrath.
You have turned from the fierceness of your anger.
4 Turn us, God of our salvation,
and cause your indignation toward us to cease.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you draw out your anger to all generations?
6 Won't you revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your loving kindness, YHWH.
Grant us your salvation.
8 I will hear what God, YHWH, will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, his saints;
but let them not turn again to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth meet together.
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth springs out of the earth.
Righteousness has looked down from heaven.
12 Yes, YHWH will give that which is good.
Our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness goes before him,
And prepares the way for his steps.
2 Peter 3:8-14
What will the future bring? The era of confidence in progress is over. Most people hunker down in the face of coming events. Do we? 1 Peter spoke of fire and brimstone in the future. Yet, a closer look at that reading reveals a hope in a better life, a life beyond this world.
8 My friends, don't forget that the Lord can think of a thousand years like a day and a day like a thousand years. 9 The Lord is not slow to keep his promises, just because some people think he is. No, he is being patient with you! He doesn't want anyone to be lost. He wants everyone to turn back to him!
10 Be aware! The Lord's day will come like a thief! On that day, the sky will fall away in a thunderclap. Nature will be burned up. And everything on earth will be clearly seen. 11 Since everything will be destroyed, you should live holy and prayer-filled lives, 12 as you eagerly wait for the Lord's day to appear. Then, the sky will be destroyed with fire; nature will burn up and melt away. 13 We wait for a new sky and new earth where goodness lives. The Lord promised this!
14 So, my friends, as you wait for all this to happen, be eager to live a good life. In this way, God will find you without sin and in his peace.
8 But, do not let this one (fact) escape you, beloved, that, with the Lord, one day (is) as a thousand years and a thousand years (is) as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow in his promise, as some consider slowness, but is patient with you, not intending any to be destroyed, but everyone to reach out into metanoia. 10 But, the day of the Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens will fall away in a clap of thunder, and, being burnt up, the elements will be destroyed, and the earth and the activity upon it will be laid bare. 11 As all these (things) are thus to be destroyed, [you] should be the sort (of people) to live in holy activities and true piety, 12 waiting expectantly and hastening the presence of the day of the Lord on which the heavens, being on fire, will be destroyed and the elements, being burnt up, will melt away. 13 But, according to his promise, we wait for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness lives.
14 Therefore, beloved, waiting with expectation for these (events), be diligent to be found without stain or guilt before him, at peace.
The opening lines of St. Mark’s presented John the Baptist, the one who would announce the immanent appearance of the Messiah
1 The good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, began this way.
2 God spoke through the writings of the prophet Isaiah:
Look! I am sending my messenger to walk in front of you.
He will prepare the way for you.
3 He is one voice in the desert shouting his message:
Get the way ready for the Lord!
Make it easy for him to arrive!
4 John appeared as the one who baptized in the desert. He told everyone, "Return to God and be baptized! Then, he will forgive you."
5 People from all over Judea, including Jerusalem, went to see John. As these people admitted the bad things they did, they were baptized by John in the Jordan River.
6 John wore clothes made from camel hair and had a leather pack around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He always preached, "Someone more powerful than I is coming after I leave. I am not worthy to bend down and untie his sandal straps. 8 I baptized you with water, but he will baptize you in God's Holy Spirit!"
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 Just as it has been written in Isaiah the prophet:
"Behold, I send my messenger before you
who will prepare your way.
3 A voice crying out in the desert:
'Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight!'"
4 He appeared, John, the one baptizing in the desert and announcing a baptism of change for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And, all the Judean countryside and all the citizens of Jerusalem traveled to him. And they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6 And John was clothed in (a tunic and robe made from) camel hair and a leather belt around his waist, and (he) was eating wild locusts and honey. 7 And he preached, saying, "The one stronger than I comes after me. I am not worthy, bending down, to loosen the straps of his sandals. 8 I baptized you in water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit."