December 20, 2015

4th Sun. of Advent

December 20, 2015:  Fourth Sunday of Advent

  • 'Ruler' tie bar:  From you, little Bethlehem, shall come the ruler in Israel (1st reading) 
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  He shall shepherd his flock (1st reading) 
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  He shall be peace (1st reading) 
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Protect what your right hand has planted (psalm) 
  • 'Mary,' 'Magnificat' pins:  Mary visits Elizabeth (gospel) 
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit (gospel) 
  • Purple suspenders:  Advent season

Mary in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church:  Fr. Cantalamessa's 3rd Advent sermon, continued

Mariology in Lumen gentium
Here's what Lumen Gentium says about Mary, Mother of God in the Mystery of Christ and the Church:  The predestination of the Blessed Virgin as Mother of God was associated with the Incarnation:  she was mother of the Redeemer and the Lord's generous associate and humble handmaid.  She conceived, gave birth to, and nourished Christ, and shared his sufferings.  She cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and charity in the Savior's work of restoring supernatural life to souls.  She is a mother to us in the order of grace.  Besides Mother of God and of believers, the Council illustrates Mary’s role as a model or type:  The Blessed Virgin is also intimately united to the church.  "The Mother of God is a type of the church in the order of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ" (Ambrose). 
In inserting Mary within the Constitution on the Church, the Council profoundly renewed Mariology:  The discussion on Mary is no longer separate; she's placed back into the context of the Church, not outside or above it:  "The Church is something better than the virgin Mary because Mary is part of the Church, a holy, exceptional, wonderful member, but still a member.  The body is greater than the member" (Augustine).  As the Church sheds light on Mary, so Mary sheds light on the Church, the body of Christ, and so is almost an extension of the incarnation of the Word:  “Vatican II, by presenting Mary in the mystery of Christ, finds deeper understanding of the mystery of the Church” (Redemptoris Mater).  The Council also emphasizes Mary’s faith; this is a return to the Mariology of the Fathers who emphasized her faith as her contribution to the mystery of salvation.  "Mary conceived by believing the one she bore by believing....  When the angel spoke, she was so full of faith that she conceived Christ in her mind before doing so in her womb, and said, Behold the maidservant of the Lord; may it happen to me according to your word” (Augustine). [to be continued]

  • Mi 5:1-4a  From you, little Bethlehem-Ephrathah shall come forth the ruler in Israel.  The Lord will give them up, until the one who is to give birth has borne.  He shall shepherd his flock in the Lord's name and by his strength, and his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace.
Key of David
  • Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19  "Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved."  Hearken; shine forth from your throne, and come save us.  Take care of this vine you planted, the son of man whom you made strong.  May your help be with the son of man you made strong.  Give us new life, and we'll call on you.
  • Heb 10:5-10  Christ said:  "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire.  Then I said, ‘I come to do Your will.’"  He takes away the first to establish the second.  By this “will,” we've been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ.
  • Lk 1:39-45  Mary traveled to the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth cried out, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed the fruit of your womb.  And how is it that my Lord's mother comes to me?  As soon as I heard your greeting, my infant leaped for joy.  Blessed are you who believed...

  • Today's O Antiphon:  O Clavis David, O Key of David, opening the gates of God's eternal Kingdom:  come and free the prisoners of darkness!
      Visitation/ Fra Angelico
    • Creighton:  "The Season of Wait":  The Song of Songs is delightful to the ear and visually enticing; lover and beloved sing of love’s longing and the anticipated joy of being together.  But they must wait.  The gospel is a mirror image of the love song:  it's about the love among Mary, her cousin Elizabeth, and their babies Jesus and John.  After years waiting, Elizabeth’s time nears fulfillment.  Young Mary, newly pregnant, is full of Love and expectation, with only months to wait.  The Love Mary carries blesses Elizabeth who is “filled with the Spirit.”  Elizabeth, who can't suppress the thrill she feels when she heard Mary's greeting, sings the praises of Mary and the infant she's carrying.  There's joy in the midst of waiting for fulfillment.
    Wait is its own season, with fullness, significance, and meaning.  Witness the joy and desire in waiting.  Waiting can be challenging, but it's always rich, with fullness and identity.  It's not just preparation for something but a gift in itself.  The wait Mary and Elizabeth share, the wait of the lovers, the wait of expectant parents, the wait of Mary and Joseph, the Wait shared between expectant mother and infant.  In these last days of Advent, what is God offering me?  What have been the graces of this year’s Wait?  May God’s gifts of the Season of Wait bless all my seasons
    • One Bread, One Body:  "The long-awaited One":  During the days of Micah and Isaiah, things were bad:  the poor were oppressed, war was looming, and God's people were not about to repent.  In the midst of this darkness, God gave hope by announcing that Someone would be born to bring peace and be Peace.  God's people waited over 700 years for Jesus.  May we live for him today....
    • Passionist:  Micah prophesies that the Savior will be born in an insignificant place, but his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.  In the gospel, two women who couldn’t possibly bring forth life are the mothers of the greatest figures in history.  We're invited to recall that our salvation comes through God's gracious goodness.  Our hope doesn't come from our plans, talents, or accomplishments.  God comes into our lives from places we’ve never heard of, people beneath our notice, and in events we least expect.  Mary and Elizabeth illustrate the attitude we must cultivate, trust in God and openness to his invitations.
    •  "Joyful anticipation of the Messiah":  "Blessed" [makarios] means "happiness" or "beatitude"; it describes a joy that's serene, untouchable, self-contained, and independent from changing circumstances.  The 'blessedness' given Mary became a sword that pierced her.  "Without God's Son, nothing could exist; without Mary's son, nothing could be redeemed" (Anselm).   To be chosen by God is a privilege and responsibility.  Mary's sorrow didn't diminish her joy because her faith, hope, and trust in God fueled it.  Jesus promised "no one will take your joy."  The Lord's joy enables us to bear sorrow or pain....
      • Bl. Scubilion, Brother of Christian Instruction, “catechist of the slaves”
      • St. Fachanan of Kilfenora

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