December 18th, 2016

Rorate coeli (Advent 4)

Explanation of the Week

The coming of God in all His unveiled power at Mt. Sinai was terrifying to the people of Israel. The thundering voice of the Lord puts sinners in fear of death (Deut 18:15-19). God, therefore, raised up a prophet like Moses, the Messiah, the Christ. God came to His people veiled in human flesh. The skies poured down the Righteous One from heaven; the earth opened her womb and brought forth Salvation (Introit) through the blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of the Lord (Lk 1:39-56). The fruit of her womb is the very Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the One whose sandal strap John was not worthy to loose (Jn 1:19-28). In Jesus we are delivered from fear and anxiety. In Him alone we have the peace of God which surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:4-7).


Rain down, you heavens, | from above,*
     and let the skies pour down the | Righteous One;
Let the earth o- | pen her womb,*
     and bring forth Sal- | vation. (Isaiah 45:8)

The heavens declare the glo- | ry of God;*
     and the firmament shows His | handiwork.
Their voice is gone out into | all the earth,*
     and their words to the end | of the world.
In the heavens He has set a tabernacle | for the sun,*
     which is like a Bridegroom coming out of His | chamber.
His going forth is from the end of the | heaven,*
     and his circuit unto the | end of it. (Psalm 19:1, 4-6)

Collect (LSB)

Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come and help us by Your might, that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect (TLH)

Stir up, O Lord, we beseech Thee, Thy power, and come and help us with Thy great might, that by Thy grace whatsoever is hindered by our sins may be speedily accomplished through Thy mercy and satisfaction; who livest and reignest with Thee and the Holy Ghoest, ever one God world without end. Amen.

Collecta Latina

Excita quaesumus Domine potentiam tuam et veni, et magna nobis virtute succurre, ut per auxilium gratiae tuae quod nostra peccata praepediunt, indulgentia tuae propitiationis acceleret. Qui cum Patre et Spiritu sancto vivis et regnas DEUS, per omnia secula seculorum, Amen.

Old Testament (LSB): Deut. 18:15-19

A New Prophet Like Moses

    15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’ 17 “And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.

Old Testament: Isaiah 40:1-8

God’s People Are Comforted

 1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
      Says your God.
       2 “ Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
      That her warfare is ended,
      That her iniquity is pardoned;
      For she has received from the LORD’s hand
      Double for all her sins.”
       3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
      “ Prepare the way of the LORD;
      Make straight in the desert[a]
      A highway for our God.
       4 Every valley shall be exalted
      And every mountain and hill brought low;
      The crooked places shall be made straight
      And the rough places smooth;
       5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
      And all flesh shall see it together;
      For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
       6 The voice said, “Cry out!”
      And he[b] said, “What shall I cry?”
      “ All flesh is grass,
      And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
       7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
      Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
      Surely the people are grass.
       8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
      But the word of our God stands forever.”

Footnotes:Isaiah 40:3 Following Masoretic Text, Targum, and Vulgate; Septuagint omits in the desert. Isaiah 40:6 Following Masoretic Text and Targum; Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, and Vulgate read I.


The LORD is near to all who call up- | on Him,*
     to all who call upon | Him in truth.
My mouth shall speak the praise | of the LORD,*
     and all flesh shall bless His | holy name. (Psalm 145:18, 21)

Epistle: Phil. 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


Alle- | luia.*
     Alle- | luia.
You are my help and my de- | liverer;*
     do not delay, O my God. Alle- | luia. (Ps.40:17)

Gospel: John 1:19-28

A Voice in the Wilderness

    19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said: “I am
      ‘ The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
      “ Make straight the way of the LORD,”’[a]

   as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” 28 These things were done in Bethabara[b] beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Footnotes:John 1:23 Isaiah 40:3 John 1:28 NU-Text and M-Text read Bethany.


Hail Mary, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. (Luke 1)

Matins Psalm(s): Ps. 5

To the Chief Musician. With flutes.[a] A Psalm of David.

 1 Give ear to my words, O LORD,
         Consider my meditation.
 2 Give heed to the voice of my cry,
         My King and my God,
         For to You I will pray.
 3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
         In the morning I will direct it to You,
         And I will look up.
 4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
         Nor shall evil dwell with You.
 5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
         You hate all workers of iniquity.
 6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
         The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
 7 But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
         In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
 8 Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
         Make Your way straight before my face.
 9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
         Their inward part is destruction;
         Their throat is an open tomb;
         They flatter with their tongue.
 10 Pronounce them guilty, O God!
         Let them fall by their own counsels;
         Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
         For they have rebelled against You.
 11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
         Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
         Let those also who love Your name
         Be joyful in You.
 12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous;
         With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

Footnotes:Psalm 5:1 Hebrew nehiloth

First Reading: Is. 34:1-2; Is. 34:8-35:10

Judgment on the Nations

 1 Come near, you nations, to hear;
      And heed, you people!
       Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
      The world and all things that come forth from it.
       2 For the indignation of the LORD is against all nations,
      And His fury against all their armies;
      He has utterly destroyed them,
      He has given them over to the slaughter.

8 For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance,
      The year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
       9 Its streams shall be turned into pitch,
      And its dust into brimstone;
      Its land shall become burning pitch.
       10 It shall not be quenched night or day;
      Its smoke shall ascend forever.
      From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
      No one shall pass through it forever and ever.
       11 But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it,
      Also the owl and the raven shall dwell in it.
      And He shall stretch out over it
      The line of confusion and the stones of emptiness.
       12 They shall call its nobles to the kingdom,
      But none shall be there, and all its princes shall be nothing.
       13 And thorns shall come up in its palaces,
      Nettles and brambles in its fortresses;
      It shall be a habitation of jackals,
      A courtyard for ostriches.
       14 The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the jackals,
      And the wild goat shall bleat to its companion;
      Also the night creature shall rest there,
      And find for herself a place of rest.
       15 There the arrow snake shall make her nest and lay eggs
      And hatch, and gather them under her shadow;
      There also shall the hawks be gathered,
      Every one with her mate.
       16 “ Search from the book of the LORD, and read:
      Not one of these shall fail;
      Not one shall lack her mate.
      For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them.
       17 He has cast the lot for them,
      And His hand has divided it among them with a measuring line.
      They shall possess it forever;
      From generation to generation they shall dwell in it.”

The Future Glory of Zion

 1 The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them,
      And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
       2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
      Even with joy and singing.
      The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
      The excellence of Carmel and Sharon.
      They shall see the glory of the LORD,
      The excellency of our God.
       3 Strengthen the weak hands,
      And make firm the feeble knees.
       4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
      “ Be strong, do not fear!
      Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
      With the recompense of God;
      He will come and save you.”
       5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
      And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
       6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
      And the tongue of the dumb sing.
      For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
      And streams in the desert.
       7 The parched ground shall become a pool,
      And the thirsty land springs of water;
      In the habitation of jackals, where each lay,
      There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
       8 A highway shall be there, and a road,
      And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
      The unclean shall not pass over it,
      But it shall be for others.
      Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
      Shall not go astray.
       9 No lion shall be there,
      Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it;
      It shall not be found there.
      But the redeemed shall walk there,
       10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
      And come to Zion with singing,
      With everlasting joy on their heads.
      They shall obtain joy and gladness,
      And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Vespers Psalm(s): Ps. 145

A Praise of David.

 1 I will extol You, my God, O King;
         And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
 2 Every day I will bless You,
         And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
 3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
         And His greatness is unsearchable.
 4 One generation shall praise Your works to another,
         And shall declare Your mighty acts.
 5 I[a] will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
         And on Your wondrous works.[b]
 6 Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
         And I will declare Your greatness.
 7 They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
         And shall sing of Your righteousness.
 8 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,
         Slow to anger and great in mercy.
 9 The LORD is good to all,
         And His tender mercies are over all His works.
 10 All Your works shall praise You, O LORD,
         And Your saints shall bless You.
 11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
         And talk of Your power,
 12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
         And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
         And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.[c]
 14 The LORD upholds all who fall,
         And raises up all who are bowed down.
 15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
         And You give them their food in due season.
 16 You open Your hand
         And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
 17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways,
         Gracious in all His works.
 18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
         To all who call upon Him in truth.
 19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
         He also will hear their cry and save them.
 20 The LORD preserves all who love Him,
         But all the wicked He will destroy.
 21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD,
         And all flesh shall bless His holy name
         Forever and ever.

Footnotes:Psalm 145:5 Following Masoretic Text and Targum; Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate read They. Psalm 145:5 Literally on the words of Your wondrous works Psalm 145:13 Following Masoretic Text and Targum; Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate add The Lord is faithful in all His words, And holy in all His works.

Second Reading: Rev. 6:1-17

First Seal: The Conqueror

 1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals;[a] and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

Second Seal: Conflict on Earth

    3 When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.”[b] 4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.

Third Seal: Scarcity on Earth

    5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart[c] of wheat for a denarius,[d] and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”

Fourth Seal: Widespread Death on Earth

    7 When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.

Fifth Seal: The Cry of the Martyrs

    9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

Sixth Seal: Cosmic Disturbances

    12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold,[e] there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon[f] became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders,[g] the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Footnotes:Revelation 6:1 NU-Text and M-Text read seven seals. Revelation 6:3 NU-Text and M-Text omit and see. Revelation 6:6 Greek choinix; that is, approximately one quart Revelation 6:6 This was approximately one day’s wage for a worker. Revelation 6:12 NU-Text and M-Text omit behold. Revelation 6:12 NU-Text and M-Text read the whole moon. Revelation 6:15 NU-Text and M-Text read the commanders, the rich men.


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