An excellent way to focus our thoughts and deepen our understanding of the meaning of Advent is to turn to the Bible. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to know where to start. That is why the Catholic Church has provided us with the Office of the Readings, part of the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the Church. In the Office of the Readings, the Church has chosen Scripture passages that are appropriate to every day of the year.
Every season of the Church year has a certain theme or themes. During Advent, the Church turns to the Old Testament book of the Prophet Isaiah. There are many themes in Isaiah's prophecy, but some of the most important are:
- The need for repentance
- Spiritual conversion
- The extension of salvation from Israel to all nations
This article contains a link to the Scripture reading for each day of the third week of Advent, as well as a brief commentary on that reading.N.B.: From December 17 on, the Church offers special readings to ensure that key parts of the Book of Isaiah are read before Christmas. For any day during the third week of Advent that falls on December 17 through December 23, use the scripture reading for the appropriate day instead:
- Scripture Reading for December 17
- Scripture Reading for December 18
- Scripture Reading for December 19
- Scripture Reading for December 20
- Scripture Reading for December 21
- Scripture Reading for December 22
- Scripture Reading for December 23
As we begin the third week of Advent, 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, the gospel will be preached to all nations by Christ.
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.
At His Second Coming, Christ will not only reign over all the earth; but all the powers of the earth will be destroyed. In this reading for the third Tuesday of Advent, the Lord destroys Assyria, which stands for the powers of men.
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.
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.
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.
Third Saturday of Advent
Since the third Saturday of Advent always falls on or after December 17, use the scripture reading for the appropriate day (listed in the introduction above) instead.