Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
December 20 A..D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Are these frantic shopping days for you? As the postman brings more and more Christmas cards, are you alarmed to have forgotten to send a card to that person? Christmas is just a week away! What happened to your plans to "start over" this year? Or are you smiling contentedly as you read this meditation, "Well, I've had a great Advent! I can't wait for Christmas!"
The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent anticipate the joy of the Incarnation. Micah's prophecy, though written eight centuries before the coming of Christ, shows us how far in advance God planned "from ancient times" to send a shepherd king who would lovingly heal His people. He would come as one of us - vulnerable and humble - to atone for the sins and shortcomings of the leaders of both kingdoms. Micah's prophecies were usually condemnatory, but today's prophecy promises a bright future.
The second reading from Hebrews emphasizes the self-sacrifice of Jesus. Even as He comes as a sweet, tiny baby, the manger is really a bed of sacrifice. He gives Himself freely from love. This love is the astounding fact about Christmas. It is the birth of a Divine love enriching our selfish human nature. He comes that we too may learn to sacrifice ourselves to the Father and to consecrate ourselves to Divine Love for the benefit of our neighbor, and indeed, for the whole world.
The Gospel narrates Mary's three-month visit to her cousin, Elizabeth, also to bear a child. At Mary's greeting, Elizabeth and her child in the womb are filled with grace-filled joy. Through the Spirit, both Elizabeth and the unborn John the Baptist, prophesy as to the blessedness of Mary and the greatness of her Son.
St. Luke lets us know throughout his Gospel how faithful God is to what He promises. Like Mary, our model for holiness, who was "blest for her believing that what was promised will be fulfilled," so we are shown the way to being blessed by God.
It's never too late to start over. Let's make one final attempt this Sunday to banish the fear and depression brought on by the daily news reports, and to stir up our joy in the action of the Holy Spirit on a young girl and her elderly cousin living in a backwater village like Bethlehem. The Child born for us is still working His miracles of love. He still promises eventual peace to our world.
"Come, Lord Jesus!"
~ Msgr. Paul Whitmore
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Today's O Antiphon:
O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.
The "O Antiphons" are sung at Evening Prayer from December 17 to 23. See text and more information.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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