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Showing posts from December, 2013

4th Sunday of Advent 2013

During this fourth and final Sunday of Advent, our scripture reminds us of how it is that our Savior, Emmanuel, Jesus (Yehoshua, which means “God saves”) will come into the world… born by virgin.

The Word for the 4th Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-24

Our first reading, from early Isaiah, give us the prophecy of how this “Emmanuel”, this “messiah”, will come into the world… “the virgin will conceive and bear a son.”  While our Christian ears recognize this as the prophecy of Mary, this was not the case for those who first heard and read these words.  At the time, King Ahaz was under threat from the Assyrians, and fearing the fall of Jerusalem, actually aided in the fall of the Northern Kingdom.  In this excerpt of the story, the Lord is upset with Ahaz, and is trying to give him one last chance to repent… to “ask for a sign from the Lord your God.”  While God sees this as an opportunity for reconciliation, Ahaz doesn’t take the bait, which ca…

3rd Sunday of Advent 2013

The third Sunday of Advent is also referred to as Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin “to rejoice”.  This Sunday we put away the violet color of Advent and put on the rose color vestments and light the rose colored candle to mark this festive moment.  So why are we rejoicing now?  Advent isn’t over yet.  First, because the 3rd Sunday marks that we are past the halfway point of our Advent fast.  While the practice of fasting for Advent was done away with in the early 20th century, we still recognize the day as a brief moment of celebration as we wind-down our period of penitent reflection.  It is also an opportunity to recognize that Jesus’ coming, both the first time, and the second time yet to come, are moments of great joy and celebration.  As such, our readings this week take a more joyous tone.

The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
        Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
        Psalm 146, 6-7, 8-9, 9-10
        James 5:7-10
        Mathew 11:2-11

Our first reading, again from Isaiah, speaks of a glory t…

2nd Sunday of Advent 2013

Most of the time our readings for a particular week give us a fairly clear message that threads itself through our Sunday readings, but looking at our readings this week, I find very challenging to find that common thread or theme.

The Word for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
        Isaiah 11:1-10
        Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
        Romans 15:4-9
        Mathew 3:1-12

We open with a reading from the prophet Isaiah.  Here he describes for us a vision of the ideal king… the one who will “fear the Lord” and be a just judge.  His words will be his only weapons and his reign will bring universal peace.  It will be so glorious that all nations will seek it out.  To our Christian ears, it sounds as if he is describing Jesus himself.  While this would not  be incorrect, neither would it be completely correct.  First we need to consider where Isaiah is coming from… The previous chapters just before this verse are a long and scathing oracle against the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.  Kingdoms …