Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand
Throughout the first three weeks of Advent our focus is very clearly on the End of Time, and the Second Coming of the Lord – not on the run up to Christmas (that only comes in the last week). If we view Advent as a Season preparing for Christmas these readings will make little sense – and neither will the figure of John the Baptist who appears today: if it was about the preparation for Christmas, then John the Baptist, preaching after Jesus was born, becomes a confusing figure: his role is to preach to us, as he did of old, and to prepare us for the (second) coming of the Lord. Everything gets more specific today: what is being preached is not an event, but a person: Isaiah promises him, John welcomes him, Paul invites us to imitate him. We have here a thumbnail portrait of the Messiah – useful to refer to when we get to Christmas and he is revealed as a child in a manger!
First Reading: Isaiah11:1-10
Res: In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails
Second Reading: Romans 15: 4-9
Gospel Reading: Matthew 3:1-12