The Second Sunday of Advent
The Introit (Isaiah 30:30) People of Zion, behold the Lord shall come to save the nations: and the Lord shall make the glory of His voice heard in the joy of your heart. (Psalm 79:2)Give ear, O thouh that rules Israel; that leads Joseph like a sheep. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
The Collect Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the ways of Your Only-Begotten Son, that through His coming we may be worthy to serve You with purified minds, who lives and reigns with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
The Epistle (Romans 15:4-13) Brethren, For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: “For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, and sing to Your name.” And again he says: “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!” And again: “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!” And again, Isaiah says: “There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope.” Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost.
The Gradual (Psalm 49:2, 3 and 5) Out of Zin the loveliness of His beauty: God shall come in His manifestation. Gather His saints to Him, who have set His covenant before sacrifices. Alleluia, alleluia: I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. Alleluia.
The Gospel (Matthew 11:2-10) At that time, And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You’.”
The Offertory (Psalm 84: 7–8) O God, when You turn You will give us life, and Your people shall rejoice in You. Show us, Lord, Your mercy and grant us Your salvation.
The Secret Be appeased, we beseech You, O Lord, by the prayers and offerings of our lowliness, and where no support of merits is at hand. hasten to us with Your aid. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son …
The Preface of Advent It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, through Christ our Lord; for in Thy mercy and ﬁdelity Thou hast promised Him as Saviour to the lost race of men, to instruct the ignorant with His truth, justify the wicked with His holiness, and help the weak by His power. Now that the time draws nigh that He Whom Thou art to send should come, and the day of our liberation should dawn, with faith in Thy promises, we rejoice with holy exultation. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing a hymn to Thy glory, evermore saying: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus …
The Communion Arise O Jerusalem, and stand on high. Behold the joy that comes to You from Your God.
The Postcommunion Filled with food of spiritual nourishment, we humbly beseech You, O Lord, that by partaking of this mystery, You would teach us to look down on earthly things and to love the heavenly. Through our Lord Jesus Christ …
Who Is my Neighbour?
We are perhaps too familiar with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It is in Luke 10:25-37. We often take it to man that everyone is our neighbour, but the parable does not teach that. Now, it does implicitly teach that everyone is of value in the eyes of God. This makes sense: everyone has an immoral soul which God loves and wishes to redeem it. So we too should love everyone in the way proper. The love a man has for his wife is different from that for his children, which is different from that for his friends and so on.
But in this parable, it is said that the neighbour is the one who had mercy on the wounded man. Mercy brings us into a relationship with someone. I can love someone without ever having shown mercy to them: perhaps there was never any need. But where there is room for mercy, then to treat someone without mercy is to fall below the Christian standard, and it is to not be the person’s neighbour. When mercy works through us, we recognise God in the other person. We become, as it were, the fingers of God doing His work.
Further, the wine and the oil use to heal his wounds are the oil of baptism and the wine of the Eucharist (a person is anointed with oil before baptism). If we take it one dimensionally, we will not see this, so we need to read it with the eyes of the Holy Spirit, so to speak. If I overcome my selfishness to help another, then the difference between us starts to change: there is no longer a separation, but rather, a connection. If one has a grudge against someone else, then show them mercy, by praying for them if nothing else. Especially if the someone has in fact done something bad to me, then that person is a wounded one. By showing mercy, we change our relationship to them, whether they know it or not.