When we focus each week on the scripture readings for Mass, we can easily miss the sequence from one week to the next. Advent is a four week period in which we experience a time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus. Here are the links for each of the four Sundays and an extract from each gospel.
On the First Sunday of Advent (11/29/15) we hear from Luke:
“…But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand….”(Lk 21:28)
On the Second Sunday of Advent (12/6/15) we meet John the Baptist, who quotes Isaiah, saying:
….“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”… (Lk 3:4-6)
On the Third Sunday of Advent (12/13/15) John the Baptist gives some answers to the crowds who ask “What should we do?” in preparation:
“…..Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none.
And whoever has food should do likewise.”….(Lk 3-11)
The situation is urgent, for as John says “..one mighter than I is coming.”
Then, on the Fourth Sunday of Advent (11/20/15) we step back to the time when Mary, pregnant, visits Elizabeth who will be the mother of John the Baptist. Elizabeth asks:
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.” (Lk 1”42-43)
The connection between John and Jesus is established from their beginnings.
The gospel extracts above are meant to show how the scripture readings from one Sunday are related to the ones that follow and precede. There are three readings on each Sunday: the first is from the Old Testament; the second is from one of the letters; and the third is the gospel. After the first reading one of psalms is sung. Each reading is related to a central theme established in the gospel. The full scope of Advent becomes clear after reflection on all of the texts for each of the four Sundays. Follow the links for these readings.’’