FIRST READING Isaiah 40:1-11
1 Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. 3A voice cries out:"In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken." 6A voice says, "Cry out!" And I said, "What shall I cry?" All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. 9 Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!" 10 See, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; 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 arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.
Word of God, Word of Life.
Thanks be to God.
FROM THE 85th PSALM
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
1You have been gracious to your land, O LORD; you have restored the good fortune of Jacob. 2 You have forgiven the iniquity of your people and blotted out all their sins.
8 I will listen to what the LORD GOD is saying; for you speak peace to your faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to you.
9Truly, your salvation is very near to those who fear you, that your glory may dwell in our land. 10 Steadfast love and faithfulness have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Faithfulness shall spring up from the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 The LORD will indeed grant prosperity, and our land will yield its increase.
13Righteousness shall go before the LORD and shall prepare for God a pathway.
THE GOSPEL READING
The Holy Gospel According to Mark, the first chapter
Glory to you, O Lord
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; 3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'" 4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.