O Christ our Lord, who sentest forth Thy great and noble servant John the Baptizer to prepare Thy way before Thee; allow us to be heralds of thy glorious coming into our hearts and of Thy redemption of this world from the rule of the archons. Pour out by our hands, we pray, the purifying flood of Thy great Jordan of living water, so that all things may become pure and acceptable in Thy sight. Amen.
The lesson is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah:
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a high way for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever. Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arms shall rule for Him: Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work is before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
The gospel is taken from the Gospel according to St. Matthew:
When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy Angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory. Before Him shall be gathered all nations, and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand: Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in, naked and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying: When saw we Thee an hungered, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them: Amen, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand: Depart from Me. For I was an hungered and ye gave Me no meat; I was thirsty and ye gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in, naked and ye clothed Me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not. Then shall they also answer Him, saying: Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee? Then shall He answer them, saying: Amen, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it not unto one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.