First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11
Israel’s Punishment Will End
1 Your God says, “Comfort, comfort my people.
2 Speak kindly to Jerusalem and tell her, ‘Your time of service is finished. You have paid the price for your sins. I, the Lord, have punished you twice for every sin you committed.’”
3 Listen, there is someone shouting: “Prepare a way in the desert for the Lord. Make a straight road there for our God.
4 Every valley must be filled. Every mountain and hill should be made flat. The crooked roads should be made straight, and the rough ground made smooth.
5 Then the Glory of the Lord will be shown to everyone. Together, all people will see it. Yes, this is what the Lord himself said!”
6 A voice said, “Speak!” So the man said, “What should I say?” The voice said, “People are like grass. Any glory they enjoy is like a wildflower.
7 When a wind from the Lord blows on them, the grass dies and the flower falls. Yes, all people are like grass.
8 Grass dies and flowers fall, but the word of our God lasts forever.” Salvation: God’s Good News
9 Zion, you have good news to tell. Go up on a high mountain and shout the good news. Jerusalem, you have good news to tell. Don’t be afraid; speak loudly. Tell this news to all the cities of Judah: “Look, here is your God!”
10 The Lord God is coming with power. He will use his power to rule all the people. He will bring rewards for his people. He will have their payment with him.
11 Like a good shepherd, he takes care of his people. He gathers them like lambs in his arms. He holds them close, while their mothers walk beside him.
Psalm: Psalm 96:1-3, 10-13
1 Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole world sing to the Lord!
2 Sing to the Lord and praise his name! Tell the good news every day about how he saves us!
3 Tell all the nations how wonderful he is! Tell people everywhere about the amazing things he does.
10 Tell the nations that the Lord is King! The world stands firm and cannot be moved. He will judge all people fairly.
11 Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be happy! Let the sea and everything in it shout for joy!
12 Let the fields and everything in them be happy! Let the trees in the forest sing for joy
13 when they see the Lord coming! He is coming to rule the world. He will rule all the nations of the world with justice and fairness.
Gospel: Matthew 18:12-14
12“If a man has 100 sheep, but one of the sheep is lost, what will he do? He will leave the other 99 sheep on the hill and go look for the lost sheep. Right?
13And if he finds the lost sheep, he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 sheep that were never lost. I can assure you,
14in the same way your Father in heaven does not want any of these little children to be lost.