Luke 3: Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, [a]while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough ways smooth;
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”

Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood[b] of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Navarre Bible Commentary: In the second part of the book of Isaiah (chaps. 40-55), which is called the “Book of the Consolation of Israel”, the Jewish people are told that they will once again suffer exile and a new exodus, in which their guide will be, not Moses, but God himself; once again they will make their way through the desert to reach a new promised land. St Luke sees the preaching of the Baptist, who announces the arrival of the Messiah, as fulfilling this prophecy.

Because the Lord is imminent, people must prepare themselves spiritually, by doing penance for their sins, to receive the special divine grace the Messiah is bringing. This is what he means by levelling the mountains and making the Lord’s path straight.

Prayer:   O Lord, lead me not into temptation.

O Lord, grant me good thoughts.  (Hourly prayers or St John Chrysostom)

Luke 3:10 So the people asked him [John], saying, “What shall we do then?”

11 He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”

12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”

13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”

14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?”

So he said to them, “Do not [c]intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”

15 Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, 16 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

18 And with many other exhortations he preached to the people. 19 But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his [d]brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 20 also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison.

21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”


Prayer:  O Lord, grant me tears, and remembrance of death, and compunction.

O Lord, grant me the thought of confessing my sins.


NC on the Teaching of John the Baptist:

The Baptist’s preaching contains a norm of natural justice which the Church also preaches. Public positions should be regarded, above all, as an opportunity to serve society, not to obtain personal gain at the expense of the common good and of that justice which people holding such positions are supposed to administer. Certainly, anyone who has fallen into the temptation of unjustly appropriating what belongs to another must not only confess his sin in the Sacrament of Penance if he is to obtain pardon; he must also resolve to give back what is not his.

The Baptist requires of everyone — Pharisees, tax collectors, soldiers — a deep spiritual renewal in the very exercise of their job; they have to act justly and honourably. God asks all of us to sanctify ourselves in our work and in the circumstances in which we find ourselves: “Any honest and worthwhile work can be converted into a divine occupation. In God’s service there are no second-class jobs; all of them are important” (J. Escrivá, Conversations, 55).

In the adoration of the Magi God revealed the divinity of Jesus by means of the star. At his Baptism the voice of God the Father, coming “from heaven”, reveals to John the Baptist and to the Jewish people — and thereby to all men — this profound mystery of Christ’s divinity.

Prayer: O Lord, grant me humility, chastity, and obedience.

O Lord, grant me patience, courage, and meekness.



Luke 4: Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit [a]into the wilderness, being [b]tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”

But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, [c]but by every word of God.’

[d]Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”

And Jesus answered and said to him, [e]“Get behind Me, Satan! [f]For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’

Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you,’

11 and, 

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’

12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not [g]tempt the Lord your God.’

13 Now when the devil had ended every [h]temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

Prayer:  O Lord, implant in me the root of good, Thy fear in my heart.

O Lord, vouchsafe me to love Thee with all my soul and thoughts, and in all things to do Thy will.

NC on the Temptation of Christ:

13 Our Lord’s temptations sum up every kind of temptation man can experience: “Scripture would not have said”, St Thomas comments, “that once all the temptation ended the devil departed from him, unless the matter of all sins were included in the three temptations already related. For the causes of temptation are the causes of desires — namely, lust of the flesh, hope of glory, eagerness for power” (Summa theologiae, III, q.41, a.4 ad 4).

By conquering every kind of temptation, Jesus shows us how to deal with the snares of the devil. It was as a man that he was tempted and as a man that he resisted: “He did not act as God, bringing his power into play: if he had done so, how could we have availed of his example?; rather, as man he made use of the resources which he has in common with us” (St Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, in loc.).

He wanted to show us the methods to use to defeat the devil — prayer, fasting, watchfulness, not dialoguing with temptation, having the words of God’s Scripture on our lips and putting our trust in the Lord.

“Until an opportune time”, that is, until it is time for Jesus to undergo his Passion.

Prayer: O Lord, protect me from evil men, and demons, and passions, and from every other unseemly thing.

O Lord, Thou knowest that Thou doest as Thou wilt: Thy will be done also in me a sinner; for blessed art Thou unto the ages. Amen.



Luke 4:14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. 15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me [i]to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are [j]oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum,[k] do also here in Your country.’ ” 24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; 26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to [l]Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with [m]wrath, 29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. 30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.


Prayer:     Lord if it be that I have done a good thing I thank Thee for by Thy Grace is has been done.


NC on Jesus in the Synagogue:   Jesus read the passage from Isaiah 61:1-2 where the prophet announces the coming of the Lord, who will free his people of their afflictions. In Christ this prophecy finds its fulfilment, for he is the Anointed, the Messiah whom God has sent to his people in their tribulation. Jesus has been anointed by the Holy Spirit for the mission the Father has entrusted to him. “These phrases, according to Luke (vv. 18-19), are his first messianic declaration. They are followed by the actions and words known through the Gospel.

According to Old Testament tradition and Jesus’ own preaching (cf. note on Mt 5:3), “the poor” refers not so much to a particular social condition as to a very religious attitude of indigence and humility towards God, which is to be found in those who, instead of relying on their possessions and merits, trust in God’s goodness and mercy. Thus, preaching good news to the poor means bringing them the “good news” that God has taken pity on them. Similarly, the Redemption, the release, which the text mentions, is to be understood mainly in a spiritual, transcendental sense: Christ has come to free us from the blindness and oppression of sin, which, in the last analysis, is slavery imposed on us by the devil.

At first the people of Nazareth listened readily to the wisdom of Jesus’ words. But they were very superficial; in their narrow-minded pride they felt hurt that Jesus, their fellow-townsman, had not worked in Nazareth the wonders he had worked elsewhere. They presume they have a special entitlement and they insolently demand that he perform miracles to satisfy their vanity, not to change their hearts. In view of their attitude, Jesus performs no miracle (his normal response to lack of faith: cf. for example his meeting with Herod in Lk 23:7-1 1); he actually reproaches them, using two examples taken from the Old Testament (cf. 1 Kings 17:9 and 2 Kings 5:14), which show that one needs to be well-disposed if miracles are to lead to faith. His attitude so wounds their pride that they are ready to kill him. This whole episode is a good lesson about understanding Jesus: we can understand him only if we are humble and are genuinely resolved to make ourselves available to him.

 Jesus does not take flight but withdraws majestically, leaving the crowd paralysed. As on other occasions men do him no harm: it was by God’s decree that he died on a cross (cf. Jn 18:32) when his hour had come.

Prayer:   Lord have mercy upon us, Christ have mercy upon us, Lord have mercy upon us.