On this Friday in the third week of Advent, we hear from the prophet Zechariah who reminds us that God asks for us remember the widow and the orphan:
The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. But they refused to listen, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears in order not to hear. They made their hearts adamant in order not to hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. Just as, when I called, they would not hear, so, when they called, I would not hear, says the Lord of hosts, and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and a pleasant land was made desolate.
The word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts shall be called the holy mountain. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the Lord of hosts? Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will save my people from the east country and from the west country; and I will bring them to live in Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness. (Zech. 7:8-8:8).
During Advent we remember Christ’s first coming, his presence among us and we look with joyful hope for his coming again. Today’s Old Testament lesson reminds us what the Kingdom of God is supposed to look like. Jesus, in his public ministry, made it clear that you and I are to “show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.” Jesus came to fulfill that law. You and I are to live as Jesus calls us to live.
Let us pray: Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
This Sunday, the 4th Sunday in Advent, the Children will preach the sermon through their Advent Program. After the Eucharist, we will have a pot luck lunch.
We continue this Sunday at 11 a.m. with A World Awaits, Advent Reflections by C.S. Lewis.
Christmas Eve Eucharist Rite II will be at 4 PM.
Please remember everyone on our Prayer List, especially the very old and the very young who are ill and all of those who are alone this Christmas Season.
Your servant in Christ,
Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550