First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4

1See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
  For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Psalm: Psalm 141

 1O Lord, I call to you; come | to me quickly;
  hear my voice when I | cry to you.
 2Let my prayer rise before | you as incense,
  the lifting up of my hands as the | evening sacrifice.
 3Set a watch before my | mouth, O Lord,
  and guard the door | of my lips.
 4Let not my heart incline to any | evil thing.
  Let me not be occupied in wickedness with evildoers, nor eat of | their sweet foods. R
 5Let the righteous strike me; their rebukes, as oil upon the head, are not to | be refused.
  Yet my prayers are continually against the deeds | of the wicked.
 6Let their rulers be thrown down up- | on the stones,
  that they may hear my words, for | they are sweet.
 7Just as one who tills the earth | breaks the rock,
  so let their bones be scattered at the mouth | of the grave.
 8But my eyes are turned to | you, Lord God;
  in you I take refuge; strip me not | of my life. R
 9Guard me from the trap that they have | laid for me
  and from the snares of | evildoers.
 10Let the wicked fall into | their own nets,
  while I a- | lone pass through. R

Second Reading: Acts 13:13-26

13Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. John, however, left them and returned to Jerusalem; 14but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading of the law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, give it.” 16So Paul stood up and with a gesture began to speak:
  “You Israelites, and others who fear God, listen. 17The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18For about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 19After he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance 20for about four hundred fifty years. After that he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.’ 23Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised; 24before his coming John had already proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25And as John was finishing his work, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but one is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals on his feet.’
  26“My brothers, you descendants of Abraham’s family, and others who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent.”

Gospel: Luke 1:57-67 [68-80]

57Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
  59On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. 60But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” 61They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” 62Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 63He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. 64Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. 66All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
  67Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: [ 68“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
  for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
 69He has raised up a mighty savior for us
  in the house of his servant David,
 70as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
  71that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
 72Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
  and has remembered his holy covenant,
 73the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
  to grant us 74that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
 might serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness
  before him all our days.
 76And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
  for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
 77to give knowledge of salvation to his people
  by the forgiveness of their sins.
 78By the tender mercy of our God,
  the dawn from on high will break upon us,
 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
  to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
  80The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.]


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    Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #47267.
    New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.