The new church year begins with a wake-up call: Christ is coming soon! In today’s readings both Paul and Jesus challenge us to wake from sleep, for we know neither the day nor hour of the Lord’s coming. Isaiah proclaims the day when God will gather all people on the holy mountain and there will be no more war or suffering. Though we vigilantly watch for the promised day of salvation, we wait for what we already have: Christ comes among us this day as the word and meal that strengthens our faith in the promises of God.
Readings and Psalm
First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5
1The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
3Many peoples shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
5O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord!
Psalm: Psalm 122
1I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
2Now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3Jerusalem is built as a city
that is at unity with itself;
4to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord,
the assembly of Israel, to praise the name of the Lord.
5For there are the thrones of judgment,
the thrones of the house of David.
6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
7Peace be within your walls
and quietness within your towers.
8For the sake of my kindred and companions,
I pray for your prosperity.
9Because of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek to do you good.”
Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14
11Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44
[Jesus said to the disciples,] 36“About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”