4th Sunday of Advent (b)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
The Season of Advent.
Sunday 21st December: Fourth Sunday of Advent. (B)
Advent is drawing to a close. We have just one week left to prepare for the birth of Christ. On this Sunday, we are invited to follow the example of Our Lady and imitate her faith. She is the one who will teach us how to prepare for the birth of pour Saviour.
In the first reading, from the second Book of Samuel, David is told it is not his role to build a temple for God. God will build a great house for all people. This plan, this promise is fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, son of David.
The Letter to the Romans, in the second reading, reminds us that the mystery kept secret for ages is a secret no more. St. Paul speaks of this mystery being revealed in Jesus Christ.
The story of the Annunciation, in today’s Gospel, is told again. Our Lady is shown as the model of faith and generosity for us all to follow.
Monday 22nd December: Advent weekday by date.
Today’s readings are full of thanks. Hannah gives thanks for the birth of her son, Samuel and presents him in the temple.
Our Lady visits her cousin, Elizabeth, and gives thanks to God in the great prayer we know as The Magnificat. It is modelled on Hannah’s song of thanksgiving which was used in the Responsorial Psalm today.
Whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one.
And save man whom you made from clay.
Tuesday 23rd December: Advent weekday by date.
Before the Messiah comes, a prophet will be sent to prepare the way. He will purify the people.
This special person, whom we hear about in the Gospel, is John the Baptist. His father, Zechariah, receives his power of speech back when he gives his son the name told him by the angel. ‘His name shall be John.’
O Immanuel, you are our king and judge,
The holy One whom the people await and their saviour.
And save us, Lord our God.
Wednesday 24th December: Advent weekday by date.
David, the greatest of the kings of Israel, is reminded that his house and sovereignty will always last – as a spiritual kingdom. He had made the mistake of thinking that God’s presence depended on the building of a temple.
After John’s birth, Zechariah makes his great prayer of praise, hope and thanksgiving – what we now call ‘The Benedictus’ said each day in the Prayer of the Church.
O Adonai and leader of the house of Israel,
You appeared to Moses in a burning bush and you gave him the Law on Sinai.
And save us with your mighty power.
All is now Ready
The Season of Christmas.
Wednesday 25th December: The Nativity of the Lord.
At the first Mass of Christmas, we hear again from the Prophet Isaiah. A child born to us will bring us light and peace from God.
In the second reading from St. Paul’s letter to Titus, we are reminded that the coming of Jesus was God’s gift of grace to all people. It is a reminder to us of what is expected of us if we are to enjoy the salvation won for us by Christ.
In the Gospel, the powerful words ring out – ‘Today a Saviour has been born to us.’ This is the Good News of today so let us give glory and thanks to God.
The readings at the ‘Dawn Mass’ mirror those above. Isaiah encourages the people as they return home from exile. God will make them new through the coming of the Messiah.
In the Letter to Titus, Paul reminds us how God never tires of being good. His Son was born as our Saviour. We are reborn in Baptism. God’s love keeps making us new and leads us to eternal life. All this happens to shows us the compassion of God.
The shepherds go to Bethlehem in the Gospel passage to see the Saviour and then tell others of what they had heard and seen. That same role is ours – to make God known and seen in our world today through bringing Christ to birth in our lives.
In the first reading of the ‘Day Mass’, God announces liberation to his people in captivity.
The letter to the Hebrews reminds us how God has often spoken to people, but since the coming of his Son, Jesus, we can see what God means ands who God is.
The powerful prologue of St. John’s Gospel speaks to us of the mystery of Jesus – he is the image of the Father, his Word become a man, his light in our darkness, he is God living among us.
Thursday 26th December: Feast of St. Stephen.
Stephen was the first martyr to shed his blood for Christ. His zeal and integrity annoyed many and, as a result, he was stoned to death for witnessing to his newfound faith. One of the witnesses to his death was Saul, the future apostle Paul.
Friday 27th December: Feast of St. John.
John, like his brother James, was a fisherman when Our Lord called him. He is often referred to as ‘the beloved disciple’ of Jesus. He was the only one of the twelve who was at the foot of the cross when Jesus died along with Mary, the mother of Jesus. He lived to a great age, suffering persecution and exile but not martyrdom. His Gospel, the Book of Revelation and his three letters are much more reflective but he is above all else a herald of the new life of grace brought to humanity by Christ.