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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

God becomes part of our family. The Fourth Sunday of Advent 2020

 God becomes part of our family. 

The Fourth Sunday of Advent 2020

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December 20, 2020

2 Samuel 7:1-16; Psalm 89; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38



The ark of God once dwelled in a tent; the ark of God always wanted to dwell within our hearts and minds, and that was made possible through young Mary’s consent. The fragility of the situation was made known when Mary was deeply troubled at the angel’s words. God was taking a major risk to entrust Jesus to a human family. It made me wonder how a woman felt when she first thought that she might be pregnant, and what it was like when the pregnancy was confirmed. I also wondered how the dad also felt upon hearing the news. Joy, hope, quiet excitement. I just wondered. Mary, however, was deeply troubled, and I don’t want to skip over her emotions or clean it up because we know the whole story. This wasn’t a minor concern; this was profound, with much concern. God was going to build God’s house in human history.


The Son of God was entrusted to a human family, with all it vulnerabilities, to learn about our sufferings, to feel pain and joy the same way we do. For God to dwell among us, a young woman needed to give her consent to the most perplexing request ever, one that does not bring about immediate joy, but puzzlement. This woman needed to break the news to her finance, who was brought up in an honor/shame society, and this announcement was hard news to accept. All this needed to happen for God to decide to live among us.


In the olden days, God dwelled in a portable tent with the ornate box containing the tablets of the covenant commandments. This movable dwelling was considered a throne for God to sit on when Moses met with the people in an assembly or for worship. God intended to be on the move with the People of God, to whatever places they needed to settle, but when God became human, God rooted his life in the human family, to a people who would always be pilgrims, a people on the move. God, therefore could be with the people wherever they lived, and this was the preaching of Jesus: The Kingdom of God is among you. 


This helps us remember that God is always planted within our families, and experiences our vulnerabilities and hardships as well as our happiness. It means that God finds us to be very dear and wants to be a part of our lives. God chooses us. Each time a child comes into our lives, God promises to be near the infant. God has entered our fragility, and has found a lasting home. 


Scripture for Daily Mass


First Reading:

Monday: (Judges 13) A barren woman was visited by an angel to receive the message that she would bear a son. She named him Samson and he spirit of the Lord stirred within him.  


Tuesday: (Isaiah 7) This is the sign that you will be given: the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and he shall be named Emmanuel.


Wednesday: (Song of Songs 2) My lover come, springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills. My lover is like a young stag. Arise my beautiful one. Come.  


Thursday: (1 Samuel 1) Hannah presented her son, Samuel, to the Lord. She left Samuel to grow as a servant of God.     


Friday (Malachi 3) I am sending my messenger before me to prepare the way. I will send you Elijah the prophet to turn the hearts of all people back to God.  


Saturday (2 Samuel 7) When King David settled into his palace, he was distraught because his Lord had no proper abode for himself. The Lord told David that this house will be David’s.



Monday: (Luke 1) Zechariah, on priestly duty, and his wife, Elizabeth, prayed fervently. An angel visited them to announce that they would bear a son, who was to be named John. 


Tuesday: (Luke 1) The angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear a son who would become the savior of the world. He shall be named Emmanuel.


Wednesday (Luke 1) Mary set out to the hill country to visit Elizabeth and Zechariah. When she entered the house, Elizabeth recognized that Mary was pregnant with the Lord.


Thursday (Luke 1) Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God, my savior.”   


Friday (Luke 1) When the time came to name Elizabeth and John’s son, they wanted to name him after his dad, but Elizabeth said, “No. He will be called John.”


Saturday (Luke 1) Zechariah sang, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has come to his people and set them free.”


Saints of the Week


December 20 - O key of David, and scepter of the house of Israel, opening the gates of God's eternal kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness.


December 21 - 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.


December 21: Peter Canisius, S.J., priest and religious (1521-1597), was sent to Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and Switzerland during the time of the Protestant Reformation to reinvigorate the Catholic faith. He directed many through the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius. He is a doctor of the church for his work in bringing many people back to the faith.


December 22 - O King of all nations, and their desire, and keystone of the church: come and save us, whom you formed from the dust.


December 23 - O Emmanuel, our king and giver of the Law, the hope of the nations and their Savior: come to save us, Lord our God.


December 24: ERO CRAS

In the Roman Catholic tradition, on December 23, the last of the seven “O Antiphons” is sung with the “Alleluia” verse before the Gospel reading at Mass and at Vespers – Evening Prayer in the Divine Office/Breviary. Most ordinary Catholics, however, are more accustomed to hearing these antiphons as verses in the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

But the literary construction of these wonderful antiphons is arranged in a unique and surprising way: The order of the seven Messianic titles of the “O Antiphons” (and the seven verses of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”) was fixed with a definite purpose. 

In Latin, the initial letters of the antiphons – Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia – form a reverse acrostic – a play on words – ERO CRAS, which translates into English as “Tomorrow, I will be.”

So, in the silence of Christmas Eve, we look back on the previous seven days, and we hear the voice of the One whose coming we have prepared for – Jesus Christ – speak to us: “I will be here tomorrow.”

December 25: The Birth of Jesus of Nazareth, who became our Christ. 


December 26: Stephen, the first Martyr (d. 35), was one of the seven original deacons chose to minister to the Greek-speaking Christians. The Jews accused him of blasphemy. Though he was eloquent in his defense, Saul of Tarsus condoned his death sentence. 


This Week in Jesuit History


  • Dec 20, 1815. A ukase of Alexander I was published banishing the Society of Jesus from St Petersburg and Moscow on the pretext that they were troubling the Russian Church. 
  • Dec 21, 1577. In Rome, Fr. Juan de Polanco, secretary to the Society and very dear to Ignatius, died. 
  • Dec 22, 1649. At Cork, Fr. David Glawey, a missionary in the Inner and Lower Hebrides, Islay, Oronsay, Colonsay, and Arran, died. 
  • Dec 23, 1549. Francis Xavier was appointed provincial of the newly erected Indian Province. 
  • Dec 24, 1587. Fr. Claude Matthe died at Ancona. He was a Frenchman of humble birth, highly esteemed by King Henry III and the Duke of Guise. He foretold that Fr. Acquaviva would be General and hold that office for a long period. 
  • Dec 25, 1545. Isabel Roser pronounced her vows as a Jesuit together with Lucrezia di Brandine and Francisca Cruyllas in the presence of Ignatius at the church of Sta. Maria della Strada in Rome. 
  • Dec 26, 1978. The assassination of Gerhard Pieper, a librarian, who was shot to death in Zimbabwe. 


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