Skip to main content

4th Sunday of Advent

This Sunday is the 4th and final Sunday of Advent.  The Nativity is quickly approaching, and like an expectant parent, the reality of what is to come is beginning to set in.  During the Sundays of Advent we’ve been hearing the prophecy of God sending us a Savior, and now with that moment nearly upon us, we see the prophecy in our readings becoming much more specific, giving flesh to what was just an idea, leaving no doubt that this is going to happen, and that we should be prepared…


Micah 5:1-4a
Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45

Our first reading comes from the Book of the Prophet Micah.  While Micah is a contemporary of Isaiah, and his prophetic message is similar, Micah is not a native of Jerusalem like Isaiah, so through his voice we see the view of an outsider looking in.  Though we don’t hear from Micah very often in the Liturgy, his prophecy is the one that gives us the birthplace of our Savior… Bethlehem-Ephrathah.  While Bethlehem is only about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, we need to remember that Luke’s Gospel tells us that Joseph and Mary were from Nazareth, about 100 miles north of Bethlehem.  The difficulty of their journey is that much more apparent when you look at the geography.  Micah’s prophecy tells us that this new ruler will have origins of old, but will stand firm and bring the children of Israel back to the Lord.

Our Psalm complements Mica’s message by reminding us that from his thrown the Son of Man will lead is to salvation as we sing “Lord, make us turn to you, let us see your face and we shall be saved.”  It’s also a prayer for the Lord to take care of is vine (Israel) so that it can be made strong.

Our second reading is from the Letter to the Hebrews.  Here we are reminded that the Lord does not want the holocausts and sin offerings of the ancient tradition, but instead wants our hearts.  The death of Jesus marks the final sacrifice.  Now to show our devotion to the Lord we are asked to simply do the Lord’s will, that is, to love him and love one another.  In the spirit of Advent we need to consecrate ourselves to his will.

We conclude our readings with Luke’s “Hail Mary” passage.  The words, coming from Elizabeth, form the basis our most common Catholic prayer as the unborn John the Baptist leaps in her womb at the sight of Mary, pregnant with Jesus.  The prophecy is being fulfilled.  The players are all in places and our stage is now set for the celebration of the joyful celebration of the Nativity.

Final Thoughts:
Preparing for the Nativity is like preparing for the coming of a child.  Just as the typical term of a pregnancy gives new parents time to prepare for the coming of their child, the season of Advent gives us time to prepare for the coming of our Lord.  To be fair… preparing for Christ’s second coming seems to be a very daunting task, something many fear.  The idea of “the coming of the Lord” is almost too much for us to grasp.  But Advent teaches us that we need to approach the Lord’s coming with joy, and to help us understand the full nature of this joy we cloth our celebration in the memory of the Nativity.  For nothing is more real than the birth of a child.  All that prophecy through the ages is now made manifest in a manger.  Something we can touch, something we can hold, something we can cherish.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Post-Lent review... How did you do?

Lent is now behind us, yet in our excitement for Easter (and for Lent being over), how often to you take a moment to look back at your Lenten journey to do a post-game review?

As a volunteer leader and business school graduate, the concept of doing a formal "review" after an event or activity is a long held important practice... one that, unfortunately, tends to get overlooked even at the highest levels.  Still, it remains a staple of standard practice, and for good reason... It affords those involved, and the entire organization, a chance to review everything after the fact... what went well, what didn't, and lay the groundwork for next time.  The same is true for looking back at our Lenten journey.  So... how did you do?

I have to be honest, I sometimes fail to practice what I preach.  For as important as a post-lenten review might be, I hadn't thought of the idea until now.  I didn't even really think about it until this morning when I read the following artic…

Nuns and Nones... continued...

On 6-24-2016 I wrote a brief commentary on what we call the "nones"... that is, those people who check the box that says "none" when asked about their religious affiliation.  That commentary was based on an address by my former high school's principal at their 2016 graduation address.  But this topic of the "nones" returned to my attention with this article posted on our daily Angelus News email from the e-magazine Crux:

Notre Dame debuts digital platform to reach young Catholics, ‘nones’
Please take a moment to read it... 

Of particular interest is the increasing number of "nones," those people who claim no religious affiliation. I first heard this term a few years back from one of the speakers at our LA Religious Education Congress. The term itself grew out of a 2012 Pew Research study that showed this rising trend. Working as I do with the RCIA and Adult Faith Formation, this was a known issue, but the Pew study validated what ma…

5th Sunday of Easter

What happens when you have too much of a good thing?  When a business wins that lucrative new contract or expands into a new location?  Or taking that same idea a bit closer to home, what happens when two families merge through marriage, or when a family welcomes a new child?  We consider this kind of growth to be a good thing, but as with all things, these successes also come with their own baggage.  Our readings for this 5th Sunday of Easter have our Apostles facing similar challenges in the face of their growing successes.

The Word for the 5th Sunday of Easter Acts 6:1-7
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
1 Peter 2:4-9
John 14:1-12

Our reading from Acts of the Apostles learning the hard way about the challenges that grow out of their continued success when their number of followers continues to grow.  Up to this point the Apostles have been doing their best to address the needs of the community, both spiritual and physical, but the community has grown so large now that they are becom…