December 21, 2014

4th Sun. of Advent

December 21, 2014:  4th Sunday of Advent

  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  I took you from the care of the flock to lead my people (1st reading)
  • 'Rock' tie pin:  "You are my father, the Rock" (psalm)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  Mary, the Spirit will come upon you (gospel)
  • Purple shirt and suspenders:  Advent season


Mary told Gabriel, “May it be done to me according to your word.”  She didn't know the future, but she knew the Lord had asked something of her, and she trusted.  She recognized God's time.  Thanks to her, the Incarnation was possible.  She teaches us to be aware of the moment Jesus passes in our lives asking for a ready and generous answer.
Jesus does pass in our lives.  He knocks at the heart of every Christian, and each of us is called to respond, like Mary, with a sincere and personal “yes”, putting ourselves at the disposal of God and of his mercy.  How often are we so caught up in our thoughts and concerns that we don't notice he's knocking!
If you're afraid you won't notice the Lord’s presence and won't be ready to respond, that's the Lord knocking; it makes us want to be better, to be close to others and to God.  If you feel this, stop; the Lord is there!  Pray, go to confession, clean up, and don’t let him pass you by!
The example of Mary and Joseph is an invitation to all of us to welcome Jesus openly; he comes to bring the gift of peace.  As the angels told the shepherds, the gift of Christmas is peace, and Christ is our true peace.  Christ is knocking to give us His peace.  Open the door!
  • 2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16  King David / prophet Nathan / Lord:  “My house is of cedar, while God's ark is a tent!” / “Go; the Lord is with you.” / “I chose you to command my people and have been with you.  I'll fix a place for my people, plant them so they may dwell undisturbed, and establish a house for you and raise up your heir.  Your house and kingdom shall endure forever.”
    Wordle: Readings 12-21-14
  • Ps 89:2-5, 27-29  "For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord."  I'll proclaim your faithfulness.  “I've made a covenant with my chosen one and will remain kind to him forever.”
  • Rom 16:25-27  The mystery was kept secret but is now manifested and made known to all to bring out the obedience of faith.
  • Lk 1:26-38  Gabriel / Mary:  “Don't be be afraid; you'll bear Jesus.  He'll be great, Son of God, receive David's throne, and rule forever.” / “How?" / “The Spirit and God's power.  'Barren' Elizabeth has also conceived.  Nothing will be impossible for God.” / “I'm the Lord's handmaid; may it be done according to your word.”
    • Today's O Antiphon (but not alleluia verse since Sunday's trumps it):  O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:  come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
    • Creighton:  Mary models co-creation:  she trusts God, says yes, and doesn't walk away. We're called to participate in the ongoing Incarnation, to put “skin” to our prayers of “Your will be done,” to comfort the dying, to support the lonely, to love the hated.  How can I right now?
      Not this kind of fiat
    • One Bread One Body:  To have a "Mary" Christmas, loving Jesus as she does, we must not fear, be filled with God's grace, have the Spirit come upon us, believe nothing is impossible with God, rejoice in being the Lord's servants, let it be done to us according to God's word, trust the Lord's words to us will be fulfilled, proclaim the Lord's greatness, find joy in our Savior, be pierced with a sword of sorrow, do whatever Jesus tells us and tell others to, be at the foot of Jesus' cross, and devote ourselves to prayer for a new Pentecost.  A "Mary" Christmas is one of faith, joy, self-sacrifice, obedience, evangelistic zeal, redemptive suffering, praise-filled worship, and prayer in the Spirit.
    • Passionist:  King David, grateful for God's kindness, wants to reciprocate by building him a fitting temple/house, but Nathan tells David that God is the one to build David a "house" of flesh and blood.  Paul announces a secret about God's command made known to bring obedience.  The star corroborates Gabriel's promise to Mary.  As days lengthen, counterparts of the star are at work in our lives, throwing light on God's works, giving us hope.
    •  God's love endures because he keeps his promises.  He showed favor to David when he anointed him king.  God reassured him he'd build him a house that would last forever. / Jesus in Mary's womb is the fulfillment of God's promises.  Mary gave her unqualified Yes to God in trust.  God gives us the grace to say yes to his will and transforming work.
    • Today's SSJ-TOSF online Advent retreat reflection:  "They are children of the Father whose works they do, and they are spouses, brothers, and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We're his spouses when our soul is united with him, his brothers and sisters when we do the Father's will, mothers when we give birth to him through a holy activity that shines as an example." (Francis of Assisi)  Mary is our example and companion:  she said, "May it be done to me according to your word," she did the Father's will, and she gave birth to him through a holy life.  May I live prayerfully, simply, as and with the little ones; may I cooperate in conceiving God.

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