December 23, 2018

4th Sun., Advent

December 23, 2018:  Fourth Sunday of Advent

See 14 connections with today?
Legend below

Christmas is a time to be together as a family.  My thoughts go in particular to the families reuniting:  may those far from their parents return home; may brothers and sisters strive to be together again.  My greetings go in particular to all far from their family and their land.
Our Father won't forget you.  If you're Christian, I wish you find in the Church a true family and experience the warmth of fraternal love.  The doors of the Christian community are open.  Jesus is born for all and brings God's love to all.
  • 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!
  • Creighton:  Christmas carols say “The Lord is come” and “Christ is born” instead of “has come” or “was born.”  Christmas is present tense and continues.  Bethlehem seemed insignificant but is remembered as the savior's birthplace.  When Mary visits Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s baby leaps in his mother's womb, recognizing the Lord.  John will be the voice preparing the Lord's way.  We spend Advent making our preparations.  In the present tense we celebrate his birth.  Leap for joy in anticipation of the birth that will save us.  The Lord is born and continues to live in our lives and hearts.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Body language":  When Jesus' body was beginning to be formed, Mary took it into the hill country and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard her greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.  Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit."  The first days of the presence of Jesus' body on earth resulted in an explosion by the Spirit.  Months later, wise men saw baby Jesus' body and gave him gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Years later, people touched his cloak and got well.  Today, we can touch Christ's body by loving it, the Church and receiving it in Holy Communion....
    Visitation/ Fra Angelico
  • Passionist:  The Visitation is one of the most exuberant sharing of joy in all of Scripture.  Mary has found out great news about herself, her son, the world, and Elizabeth, hastens to Elizabeth, and there is such joy.  Spirit-filled Elizabeth says “How does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”  We could ask, “How does this happen to me, that my Lord should come to me, become like me to save me?”  We know it's God’s love for us but can’t understand the immensity of that love.  Elizabeth also tells Mary, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”  Blessed are we who believe that what has been spoken to us will be fulfilled for, in, and through us.  Can we believe God is for us and seeks our healing and redemption?  That Christ will come to complete fulfillment?  How can we be ambassadors so others can believe that what has been spoken to them will be fulfilled?  How would our New Year be if every time we encountered someone we would wonder, “How does this happen to me, that the brother or sister of my Lord should come to me?”  To make room for Jesus, we need to make room for our sisters or brothers....
  •  "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....
Dress legend
  • 'Ruler' suspenders:  From you, Bethlehem, shall come the 'ruler' in Israel (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  He shall shepherd his flock (1st reading)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  His greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  He shall be peace (1st reading)
  • 'Fruit with grapes' tie:  "Take care of this vine" (psalm)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  "Give us new life, and we'll 'call' on you" (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Protect what your right hand has planted (psalm)
  • 'Scroll' pin:  "As is written of me in the scroll, I come to do your will" (2nd reading)
  • 'Alps' pin:  Mary and traveled to the hill country... (gospel)
  • 'Visitation/Magnificat' pin: visit Elizabeth (gospel)
  • 'Dove' pin: Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit (gospel)
  • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin:  "When I heard your greeting, the infant in my womb leaped for joy" (gospel)
  • Purple shirt:  Advent season
  • 'No-L' button:  Christmas novena (12/17-24 subseason)

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