As we start the second week of Advent, the Church turns her attention from the second coming of Christ to his first coming, and in particular to the figure of John the Baptist, the forerunner or herald of Jesus Christ.
Usually the Church reads heavily from the prophet Isaiah during the Advent season, and indeed, Isaiah 40 would have made a good First Reading for this Sunday because it is quoted in the Gospel. However, in Year C, the Church takes a little break from exclusive attention to Isaiah and reads some other Old Testament texts that are also important for understanding the significance of Christ’s coming.
Readings - Mass - New - Exodus - Theme
The readings for this Mass are heavily marked by what we may call a “New Exodus” theme.
We recall that the people of Israel became a nation when they were brought out of Egypt under Moses in the first Exodus. Afterward, under Joshua, they entered and possessed their land.
Centuries - God - Nations - Assyria - Babylon
Centuries later, however, they sinned against God, and he permitted them to be conquered and exiled by the nations of Assyria and Babylon. During these tumultuous years, Israelites became scattered to the four corners of the earth.
The great prophets of the Old Testament predicted that, at some future time, God would repeat the Exodus, only this time it would not be out of Egypt, but out of all the nations to which the people of Israel had been scattered. Scholars call this the “New Exodus” theme in the prophets, and it can be found in many places (Isa 11:10-16; Jer 23:7-8; Ezek 37:21-22).
Reading - Sunday - Selection - Book - Baruch
Our First Reading for this Sunday, a selection from the rarely-read Book of Baruch, has a heavy New Exodus emphasis:
Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
Put - Splendor - Glory - God
put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
that displays the glory of the eternal name.
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