Sunday, December 22, 2013

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, December 22, 2013 with Reflection

Fourth Sunday of Advent
1ST READING - Isaiah 7:10-14
10 The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying: 11 “Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!” 12 But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!” 13 Then Isaiah said: “Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”
P S A L M - Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
R: Let the Lord enter; He is king of glory.
1 The Lord’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. 2 For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. (R) 3 Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who may stand in his holy place? 4 One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. (R) 5 He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior. 6 Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. (R)
2ND READING - Romans 1:1-7
1 Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, 4 but established as Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, 6 among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; 7 to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.
Matthew 1:18-24
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 20 Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. 21 She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” 24 When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.



The psalms make good reflection for our meditation since they are hymns and prayers of the common people. In every psalm, we can see our own lives expressed. What we find difficult in expressing, the psalmist has made 

known. Psalms can be a fantastic aid to prayer and intimate conversation with the Lord. The Divine Office, or Prayer of The Church, once prayed only by priests and religious, has now been made available for the laity.

       The ancient method of prayer Lectio Divina, or Divine Reading, is an aid to pray the psalms. By taking a key phrase or word, one allows himself to be nourished and enlightened by the Word of God. I often encourage
those I direct to use this method — those who are just starting out in their prayer lives and those who are seeking direction and guidance. The psalm says it all — laments, forgiveness, joy and thanksgiving.

       The Responsorial Psalm or Canticle in the readings today is the response of Hannah, echoed by Mary in the Gospel. Hannah acknowledges herself as part of the people of God whom He has saved. Hannah is invoking God’s assistance and salvation. In a time of praise and thanksgiving, she adds her voice — that the God who saves and exalts the humble has come to her aid. 

       On this last Sunday of Advent, we are near to the great celebration of God Incarnate. The Canticle or Responsorial Psalm of today is fulfilled in Jesus. He is the Helper and Rescuer of humanity. He comes to restore the vineyard of God, namely Israel, and now the Church. Truly, we find in Jesus the God who has looked down from heaven and seen the great confusion of mankind. In His loving-kindness, He has rescued His people from danger of sin. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
REFLECTION QUESTION: Read the responsorial psalm and practice the lectio divina method of prayer. What phrase or word strikes your attention?
Lord, I turn to you in my need. You are my rescue and help. O God, come to my aid.

 Blessed Jacopone da Todi, pray for us.

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