Saturday, December 21, 2013
4th Sunday of Advent – A
December 22, 2013
4th Sunday of Advent – A
Mic 5:1-4 / Ps 24: 1-2. 3-4. 5-6 / Heb 10:5-10 / Lk 1:39-45
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, so small that you are hardly named among the clans of Judah, from you shall I raise the one who is to rule over Israel. For he comes forth from of old, from the ancient times. Yahweh, therefore, will abandon Israel until such time as she who is to give birth has given birth. Then the rest of his deported brothers will return to the people of Israel. He will stand and shepherd his flock with the strength of Yahweh, in the glorious Name of Yahweh, his God. They will live safely while he wins renown to the ends of the earth. He shall be peace. When the Assyrian invades our land and sets foot on our territory, we will raise against him not one but seven shepherds, eight warlords.
This is why on entering the world, Christ says: You did not desire sacrifice and offering; you were not pleased with burnt offerings and sin offerings. Then I said: "Here I am. It was written of me in the scroll. I will do your will, O God." First he says: Sacrifice, offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire nor were you pleased with them—although they were required by the Law. Then he says: Here I am to do your will. This is enough to nullify the first will and establish the new. Now, by this will of God, we are sanctified once and for all by the sacrifice of the body of Christ Jesus.
Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, "You are most blessed among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord's word would come true!"
On this fourth Sunday of Advent we are just three days before Christmas. Most likely the thoughts of many today are about the final preparations for the celebration of this great feast of the Christian world. Today's gospel reading gives us an insight into what must have been the concerns of two people who were specially chosen by God to make Christmas so important. Our gospel account opens for us the hearts and minds of Joseph and Mary who nine months before this day began their own preparations for the first Christmas.
First we consider Mary. She is a young girl who has to struggle with an experience almost impossible to explain. Like so many of the pious Jewish people of her day, she believed that the Messiah promised by God would be revealed, but when and how it was going to happen was unknown. Her own life was the simple life of a young woman, unmarried, but promised in eventual marriage to a humble carpenter named Joseph. By a totally unexpected experience of God's Spirit working in her like that of an angel, she is told that God's desire for her is that she should give birth to a boy child. No wonder she was deeply troubled by all this. But with the simplicity of a very pious girl, and with the assurance that it was indeed the work of God's Spirit in her, she submits to what is asked of her.
Now consider Joseph. The woman whom he loves and respects so much has become pregnant and he knows that it was not by him. Out of respect and love for Mary, Joseph plans to follow in secret the Jewish system of "divorcing" the girl he was pledged to marry. He does not want to cause her any shame. But again God intervenes and Joseph has a mysterious experience of assurance that he should not hesitate to take Mary as his wife because it is the Spirit of God that is at work in her. Just as Mary submits to God's design, Joseph too submits and takes Mary into his home as his wife.
There would be no Christmas for the world to celebrate if these two simple Jewish youths had not acted with the love and trust that was in them, love and trust for each other, and above all loving trust in God. Because of what today's gospel account narrates, the Messiah is born as our Emmanuel, "God with us" today and always! Of course there are other details given by another gospel writer, but this account of the Christmas preparation of Joseph and Mary can inspire us to be people who can trust in God's Spirit, the Spirit of God's love for us and for the whole world. Wonderful things can happen if we will trust in that Spirit. The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of loving trust. Can we say to God together with Mary and Joseph: "Be it done to us as You say!"
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
… for the speedy recovery and healing of
- Lorenzo Meoli
- Ditas dela Paz, Toots Monfort, Virginia Hernandez, and Fleur Torres
… for the personal intentions of Fred de Leon
… for the eternal repose of the souls of Enriqueta Velasco Prado. 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: Christian Joshua Acero
- Birthday: Christopher T. Reyes
- In Memoriam (+): Tan Siu Go
… for families who are in need of healing
… 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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