Saturday, December 18, 2010
4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT – A
4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT – A
Yahweh spoke to Ahaz again and said: Ask Yahweh your God for a sign,
either in the depths of Sheol or in the heights above. But Ahaz said,
'I will not ask. I will not put Yahweh to the test.' He then said:
Listen now, House of David: are you not satisfied with trying human
patience that you should try my God's patience too? The Lord will give
you a sign in any case: It is this: the young woman is with child and
will give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel.
From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set
apart for the service of the gospel that God promised long ago through
his prophets in the holy scriptures. This is the gospel concerning his
Son who, in terms of human nature was born a descendant of David and
who, in terms of the Spirit and of holiness, was designated Son of God
in power by resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ, our Lord,
through whom we have received grace and our apostolic mission of
winning the obedience of faith among all the nations for the honour of
his name. You are among these, and by his call you belong to Jesus
Christ. To you all, God's beloved in Rome, called to be his holy
people. Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was
betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was
found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph,
being an upright man and wanting to spare her disgrace, decided to
divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when
suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,
because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will
give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one
who is to save his people from their sins.' Now all this took place to
fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: Look! the virgin
is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call
Immanuel, a name which means 'God-is-with-us'. When Joseph woke up he
did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to
There is a sense of urgency, or more exactly, a sense of expectancy in
today's liturgy. It is much deeper and more authentic than the
eagerness with which children await Christmas and Santa Claus. One
might believe and hope that it rises from our hearts, from the deep
needs of our humanity. There is also a sense of urgency and insistence
on the part of God. Today's scripture readings indicate how very much
he insists on entering our lives in order to save us.
What is the nature of this salvation that Jesus will bring? Christ's
salvation is for the whole person. We usually think of salvation
almost exclusively in terms of our souls at the end of our lives, our
getting into heaven when we die. Salvation at the end of our life is
fine, it is essential. But we all need help right now. We need to be
saved from selfishness, from greed, from a bad temper, from envy and
jealousy, from hatred, bitterness, resentment, a critical spirit,
gossiping and many other weaknesses that we easily give in to. All
this Jesus wishes to accomplish in us here and now, that is if we are
willing to be saved in his way. All this is what Jesus did for people
in his own lifetime. He gave new life, he healed broken hearts and
forgave sins. Above all, he gave hope, a new life, a new spirit.
There is another theme in today's readings, namely the names of the
promised Redeemer. The angel tells Joseph that he is to give the child
the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. It
has been said that all the rest of the New Testament is a commentary
on that statement, enlarging it, applying it to our human existence.
The other name that the Father gives Jesus is Emmanuel which means God
is with us. This means that God is here, now, that God is for us.
These two names, Jesus meaning God saves, and Emmanuel meaning God is
with us, contain the whole meaning of Christmas. To be sure, it is not
the meaning of Christmas that is generally understood by our modern
way of life. These two names, Jesus and Emmanuel were in the hearts
and on the lips of Mary and Joseph during the time of Mary's
pregnancy. But Jesus will not come into our hearts unless we unlatch
or unlock the door of our hearts and let him in. Jesus will never gate
crash into our hearts.
Do we have faith in this central message of Christmas? Do we really
believe that God is with us as he was with the people of Judah at the
time of the prophet Isaiah, as he was with the apostles at the time of
The promise and fulfillment of Emmanuel, God with us, is for us too.
God is with us in moments of sorrow as well as joy. He is with us in
situations of poverty as well as plenty. He is with us in times of
worry as well as peace. God is with us to see us through any struggle,
to help us survive any setback, to strengthen us to endure any
disappointment. Christmas is a yearly sign to reaffirm our faith that
God is still with us and will be with us to the end of time.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the speedy recovery and healing of
- Amparo Acuesta
- Vicky Fabella
… for the personal intentions of
- Veronica Yap
- Josheil Dapo
- Bill and Carol
… for the eternal repose of the souls of Nalita Daclitan and Elmar
Fink. Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon
them. May they and all the dearly departed rest in peace.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Melissa S. Cajumban
- Birthday: Nemecio Nunag
- Birthday: Thomas Eberlein
- Birthday: Fr. Jose Cecilio J. Magadia, S.J.
- In Memoriam (+): Vicente Cuevas, Jr.
- In Memoriam (+): Vicente Sy Chua+
… for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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