＊＊＊ 1st Reading ＊＊＊
Rejoice, O barren woman
Who has not given birth; sing and shout for joy, you who never had children, for more are the children of the rejected woman than the children of the married wife, says Yahweh.
Enlarge the space for your tent, stretch out your hangings, lengthen your ropes and strengthen your stakes, for you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will take possession of the nations and inhabit cities that have been abandoned.
Do not be afraid for you will not be deceived, do not be ashamed for you will not be disgraced. You will forget the shame of your youth; no longer will you remember the disgrace of your widowhood.
For your Maker is to marry you: Yahweh Sabaoth is his name. Your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel: He is called God of all the earth. For Yahweh has called you back as one forsaken and grieved in spirit. Who could abandon his first beloved? says your God.
For a brief moment I have abandoned you, but with great tenderness I will gather my people. For a moment, in an outburst of anger, I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I have had mercy on you, says Yahweh, your Redeemer.
This is for me like Noah’s waters, when I swore that they would no more flood the earth; so now I swear not to be angry with you and never again to rebuke you. The mountains may depart and the hills be moved, but never will my love depart from you nor my covenant of peace be removed, says Yahweh whose compassion is for you.
Ps 30:2 & 4, 5-6, 11-12a & 13b
I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
＊＊＊＊ Gospel ＊＊＊＊
Gospel: Luke 7:24-30
When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began speaking to the people about John. And he said, What did you want to see when you went to the desert? A reed blowing in the wind? What was there to see? A man dressed in fine clothes?
But people who wear fine clothes and enjoy delicate food are found in palaces. What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. For John is the one foretold in Scripture in these words: I am sending my messenger ahead of you to prepare my way.
No one may be found greater than John among those born of women; but, I tell you, the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. All the people listening to him, even the tax collectors, had acknowledged the will of God in receiving the baptism of John, whereas the Pharisees and teachers of the law, in not letting themselves be baptized by him, ignored the will of God.
There is mutual respect between John and Jesus. This sets us thinking about whether they were close as cousins during their growing up years. There is scant biblical data to establish what kind of relationship they had.
Although we can infer that John grew up in the desert with a religious group that is dedicated to the pursuit of God by ascetical practice, we do not know whether John and Jesus had interactions during their growing up years.
But the words of John about Jesus when the latter went for baptism, and the words of Jesus about John in this gospel makes us believe that they respect each other. Jesus praises John as the greatest among those born of a woman. For he is the one foretold by the Scripture to prepare the way of the Lord.
Fear not, you shall not be shamed;
Do not cringe, you shall not be disgraced.
Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him:
behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.