Scripture Readings for the Third Week of Advent

01
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Christ's Second Coming Will Complete His First

The Gospels on the coffin of Pope John Paul II, May 1, 2011. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
The Gospels are displayed on the coffin of Pope John Paul II, May 1, 2011. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

As Advent progresses, the Church turns us more and more from preparing for Christ's Birth at Christmas to preparing for His Second Coming. In the Scripture Reading for the Third Monday of Advent, the Prophet Isaiah paints a picture of the world after the Second Coming: No more tears; no more idols; food and water in plenty; the world lit with a bright light, signifying the renewal of the earth. All the nations shall see the power of Christ and glorify the God of Israel.

Preparing for the Second Coming of Christ . . .

But the Second Coming will not simply bring joy and plenty; it will bring destruction, too. The powers of men (signified in the Scripture Reading for the Third Tuesday of Advent by Assyria) will be destroyed. Our own fate will be decided by our actions: If we have prepared ourselves properly for Christ's Second Coming, then like the just man in the Scripture Reading for the Third Wednesday of Advent we will have nothing to fear; but if we continue to live in evil and deceit, we, too, will be destroyed.

. . . By Preparing for His Birth

These may seem hard words to hear when every store is playing "Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas," but they remind us what this liturgical season—the Advent season, not the Christmas season that hasn't started yet—is all about. We cannot properly prepare for the birth of Christ at Christmas unless we prepare also for His coming at the end of time. We cannot adore the Child in the manger in Bethlehem without bending our knee before the just Judge Who suffered and died for our sins.

The Child in His Mother's arms is the Man upon the Cross and the King Who will return at the end of time. That, and not mistletoe and eggnog, is the message of Advent. Will we hear it?

The readings for each day of the Third Week of Advent, found on the following pages, come from the Office of the Readings, part of the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the Church.

02
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Scripture Reading for the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)

Albert of of Sternberk's pontifical, Strahov Monastery Library, Prague, Czech Republic
Albert of of Sternberk's pontifical, Strahov Monastery Library, Prague, Czech Republic. Fred de Noyelle/Getty Images

The Judgment of the Lord on Israel

From December 17 on, the Church offers special readings to ensure that key parts of the Book of Isaiah are read before Christmas. Therefore, when the third Sunday of Advent falls on December 17, use the scripture reading for December 17 instead.

As the Advent season advances and Christmas Day approaches, so, too, do the prophecies of Isaiah take on an added urgency. As we begin the third week of Advent on Gaudete Sunday, we see that the Lord has passed His judgment on Israel, whose obedience to His Word is, at best, merely out of habit. Indeed, many of the children of Israel no longer even acknowledge Him as Lord.

Therefore, God says, a new day will come, in which the deaf shall hear, the blind shall see, and the poor shall have the gospel preached to them. Isaiah's words foreshadow Christ's own answer to the disciples of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:4-5: "Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them."

The deaf, the blind, and the poor, of course, refer to specific people that Christ healed and preached to; but they also refer to us, to whom the message of salvation is now extended.

Isaiah 29:13-24 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

And the Lord said: Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips glorify me, but their heart is far from me, and they have feared me with the commandment and doctrines of men: Therefore behold I will proceed to cause an admiration in this people, by a great and wonderful miracle: for wisdom shall perish from their wise men, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

Woe to you that are deep of heart, to hide your counsel from the Lord: and their works are in the dark, and they say: Who seeth us, and who knoweth us?

This thought of yours is perverse: as if the clay should think against the potter, and the work should say to the maker thereof: Thou madest me not: or the thing framed should say to him that fashioned it: Thou understandest not.

Is it not yet a very little while, and Libanus shall be turned into charmel, and charmel shall be esteemed as a forest?

And in that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and out of darkness and obscurity the eyes of the blind shall see.

And the meek shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For he that did prevail hath failed, the scorner is consumed, and they are all cut off that watched for iniquity: That made men sin by word, and supplanted him that reproved them in the gate, and declined in vain from the just.

Therefore thus saith the Lord to the house of Jacob, he that redeemed Abraham: Jacob shall not now be confounded, neither shall his countenance now be ashamed: But when he shall see his children, the work of my hands in the midst of him sanctifying my name, and they shall sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall glorify the God of Israel: And they that erred in spirit, shall know understanding, and they that murmured, shall learn the law.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

03
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Scripture Reading for Monday of the Third Week of Advent

Man thumbing through a Bible
Man thumbing through a Bible. Peter Glass/Design Pics/Getty Images

The Life of the World to Come

From December 17 on, the Church offers special readings to ensure that key parts of the Book of Isaiah are read before Christmas. Therefore, when the third Monday of Advent falls on or after December 17, use the scripture reading for the appropriate day instead:

As we await the birth of Christ at Christmas, we also look forward to His Second Coming and, in the words of the Creed, "the life of the world to come." In the reading for the third Monday of Advent, the Prophet Isaiah gives us a glimpse of that world: no more hunger; no more pain; the Lord Himself living with us; man and the earth completely healed.

Isaiah 30:18-26 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

Therefore the Lord waiteth that be may have mercy on you: and therefore shall he be exalted sparing you: because the Lord is the God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.

For the people of Sion shall dwell in Jerusalem: weeping thou shalt not weep, he will surely have pity on thee: at the voice of thy cry, se soon as he shell hear, he will answer thee.

And the Lord will give you spare bread, and short water: and will not cause thy teacher to flee away from thee any more, and thy eyes shall see thy teacher. And thy ears shall hear the word of one admonishing thee behind thy back: This is the way, walk ye in it: and go not aside neither to the right hand, nor to the left. And thou shalt defile the plates of thy graven things of silver, and the garment of thy molten things of gold, and shalt cast them away as the uncleanness of a menstruous woman. Thou shalt say to it: Get thee hence.

And rain shall be given to thy seed, wheresoever thou shalt sow in the land: and the bread of the corn of the land shall be most plentiful, and fat. The lamb in that day shall feed at large in thy possession: And thy oxen, and the ass colts that till the ground, shall eat mingled provender as it was winnowed in the floor.

And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every elevated hill rivers of running waters in the day of the slaughter of many, when the tower shall fall.

And the light of the moon shall be se the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days: in the day when the Lord shall bind up the wound of his people, and shall heal the stroke of their wound.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

04
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Scripture Reading for Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

A gold-leaf Bible
A gold-leaf Bible. Jill Fromer/Getty Images

The Lord Destroys the Powers of This World

From December 17 on, the Church offers special readings to ensure that key parts of the Book of Isaiah are read before Christmas. Therefore, when the third Tuesday of Advent falls on or after December 17, use the scripture reading for the appropriate day instead:

At His Second Coming, Christ will not only reign over all the earth; but all the powers of the earth will be destroyed. In yesterday's reading, we saw the establishment of the Kingdom; in this reading for the third Tuesday of Advent, the Lord destroys Assyria, which stands for the powers of men.

Isaiah 30:27-33; 31:4-9 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

Behold the name of the Lord cometh from afar, his wrath burneth, and is heavy to bear: his lips are filled with indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire. His breath as a torrent overflowing even to the midst of the neck, to destroy the nations unto nothing, and the bridle of error that was in the jaws of the people. You shall have a song as in the night of the sanctified solemnity, and joy of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe, to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel.

And the Lord shall make the glory of his voice to be heard, and shall shew the terror of his arm, in the threatening of wrath, and the dame of devouring fire: he shall crush to pieces with whirlwind, and hailstones.

For at the voice of the Lord the Assyrian shall fear being struck with the rod. And the passage of the rod shall be strongly grounded, which the Lord shall make to rest upon him with timbrels and harps, and in great battles he shall over throw them. For Topheth is prepared from yesterday, prepared by the king, deep, and wide. The nourishment thereof is fire and much wood: the breath of the Lord as a torrent of brimstone kindling it.

For thus saith the Lord to me: Like as the lion roareth, and the lion's whelp upon his prey, and when a multitude of shepherds shall come against him, he will not fear at their voice, nor be afraid of their multitude: so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight upon mount Sion, and upon the hill thereof. As birds dying, so will the Lord of hosts protect Jerusalem, protecting and delivering, passing over and saving.

Return as you had deeply revolted, O children of Israel. For in that day a man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your hands have made for you to sin.

And the Assyrian shall fall by the sword not of a man, and the sword not of a man shall devour him, and he shall flee not at the face of the sword: and his young men shall be tributaries. And his strength shall pass away with dread, and his princes fleeing shall be afraid: the Lord hath said it, whose die is in Sion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

05
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Scripture Reading for Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

Prest With Lectionary
A priest with a lectionary. undefined

Justice Rules When the Lord Reigns

From December 17 on, the Church offers special readings to ensure that key parts of the Book of Isaiah are read before Christmas. Therefore, when the third Wednesday of Advent falls on or after December 17, use the scripture reading for the appropriate day instead:

In this reading for the third Wednesday of Advent, the Prophet Isaiah tell us that, at the Second Coming, Christ will establish perfect justice. Those who are evil and deceitful will no longer get their way. In the world to come, the just man can live free from the distractions of sin.

Isaiah 31:1-3; 32:1-8 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, trusting in horses, and putting their confidence in chariots, because they me many: and in horsemen, because they me very strong: and have not trusted in the Holy One of Israel, and have not sought after the Lord.

But he that is the wise one hath brought evil, and hath not removed his words: and he will rise up against the house of the wicked, and against the aid of them that work iniquity.

Egypt is man, and not God: and their horses, flesh, and not spirit: and the Lord shall put down his hand, and the helper shall fall, and he that is helped shall fall, and they shall al be confounded together.

Behold a king shall reign in justice, and princes shell rule in judgment. And a man shall be as when one is hid from the wind, and hideth himself from a storm, as rivers of waters in drought, and the shadow of a rock that standeth out in a desert land.

The eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken diligently. And the heart of fools shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of stammerers shall speak readily and plain. The fool shall no more be called prince: neither shall the deceitful be called great.

For the fool will speak foolish things, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and speak to the Lord deceitfully, and to make empty the soul of the hungry, and take away drink from the thirsty.

The vessels of the deceitful are most wicked: for he hath framed devices to destroy the meek, with lying words, when the poor man speaketh judgment. But the prince will devise such things as are worthy of a prince, and he shah stand above the rulers.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

06
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Scripture Reading for Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Old Bible in Latin
Old Bible in Latin. Myron/Getty Images

The Just Will Rejoice, and the Wicked Will Be Humbled

From December 17 on, the Church offers special readings to ensure that key parts of the Book of Isaiah are read before Christmas. Therefore, when the third Thursday of Advent falls on or after December 17, use the scripture reading for the appropriate day instead:

In the reading for the third Thursday of Advent, the Prophet Isaiah once again describes the coming of the Lord. We believe that Christ comes twice: first, at Christmas; and second, at the end of time. These prophecies of the reign of the Lord began to be fulfilled when Christ was born and brought new life into the world; they will be completed at His Second Coming.

Isaiah 32:15-33:6 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high: and the desert shall be se a charmel, and charmel shall be counted for a forest. And judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and justice shall sit in charmel. And the work of justice shall be peace, and the service of justice quietness, and security for ever.

And my people shall sit in the beauty of peace, and in the tabernacles of confidence, and in wealthy rest. But hail shall be in the descent of the forest, and the city shall be made very low. Blessed are ye that sow upon all waters, sending thither the foot of the ox and the ass.

Woe to thee that spoilest, shalt not thou thyself also be spoiled? and thou that despisest, shalt not thyself also be despised? when thou shalt have made an end of spoiling, thou shalt be spoiled: when being wearied thou shalt cease to despise, thou shalt be despised.

Lord, have mercy on us: for we have waited for thee: be thou our arm in the morning, and our salvation in the time of trouble.

At the voice of the angel the people fled, and at the lifting up thyself the nations are scattered. And your spoils shall be gathered together as the locusts are gathered, as when the ditches are full of them.

The Lord is magnified, for he hath dwelt on high: he hath filled Sion with judgment and justice. And there shall be faith in thy times: riches of salvation, wisdom and knowledge: the fear of the Lord is his treasure.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

07
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Scripture Reading for Friday of the Third Week of Advent

Old Bible in English
Old Bible in English. Godong/Getty Images

After the Judgment, Jerusalem Will Reign Eternal

From December 17 on, the Church offers special readings to ensure that key parts of the Book of Isaiah are read before Christmas. Therefore, when the third Friday of Advent falls on or after December 17, use the scripture reading for the appropriate day instead:

As the third week of Advent draws to a close, the prophecy of Isaiah shifts more completely to the coming of the Lord at the end of time. In this reading for the third Friday of Advent, the earth will be cleansed with fire, and only the just man will emerge. He will live in the eternal Jerusalem, ruled by Christ.

Isaiah 33:7-24 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

Behold they that see shall cry without, the angels of peace shall weep bitterly. The ways are made desolate, no one passeth by the road, the covenant is made void, he hath rejected the cities, he hath not regarded the men. The land hath mourned, and languished: Libanus is confounded and become foul, and Saron is become as a desert: and Basan and Carmel are shaken.

Now will I rise up, saith the Lord: now will I be exalted, now will I lift up myself. You shall conceive heat, you shall bring forth stubble: your breath as fire shall devour you. And the people shall be as ashes after a fire, as a bundle of thorns they shall be burnt with fire. Hear, you that are far off, what I have done, and you that are near know my strength.

The sinners in Sion are afraid, trembling hath seized upon the hypocrites. Which of you can dwell with devouring fire? which of you shall dwell with everlasting burnings?

He that walketh in justices, and speaketh truth, that casteth away avarice by oppression, and shaketh his hands from all bribes, that stoppeth his ears lest he hear blood, and shutteth his eyes that he may see no evil. He shall dwell on high, the fortifications of rocks shall be his highness: bread is given him, his waters are sure.

His eyes shall see the king in his beauty, they shall see the land far off. Thy heart shall meditate fear: where is the learned? where is he that pondereth the words of the law? where is the teacher of little ones? The shameless people thou shalt not see, the people of profound speech: so that thou canst not understand the eloquence of his tongue, in whom there is no wisdom.

Look upon Sion the city of our solemnity: thy eyes shall see Jerusalem, a rich habitation, a tabernacle that cannot be removed: neither shall the nails thereof be taken away for ever, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken: Because only there our Lord is magnificent: it place of rivers, very broad and spacious streams: no ship with oars shall pass by it, neither shall the great galley pass through it. For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king: he will save us. Thy tacklings are loosed, and they shall be of no strength: thy mast shall be in such condition, that thou shalt not be able to spread the flag. Then shall the spoils of much prey be divided: the lame shall take the spoil. Neither shall he that is near, say: I am feeble. The people that dwell therein, shall have their iniquity taken away from them.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

08
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Scripture Reading for Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

St. Chad Gospels at Lichfield Cathedral
St. Chad Gospels at Lichfield Cathedral. Philip Game/Getty Images

From December 17 on, the Church offers special readings to ensure that key parts of the Book of Isaiah are read before Christmas. Since the third Saturday of Advent always falls on or after December 17, use the scripture reading for the appropriate day instead: