Fourth Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalm 24; Romans 1: 1-7; Matthew 1: 18-24
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Isaiah promises that a young girl will conceive, and the son’s name will be God-with-us.
When God arrives, we open the gates wide to welcome the King of Glory, cries the psalmist. Paul points out that the son of God in the flesh is descended from David, but in being raised by God, he is “established as Son of God in power.” Through him, like Paul, we are made apostles, sent with the good news, “to bring about the obedience of faith.” Lest this becomes just other-worldly jargon, we are offered by the Jewish Matthew the example of Joseph’s bewilderment, discernment and obedience of faith. Today we celebrate the annunciation made to Joseph, with the consoling words: “Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.” In Luke, Mary had to “dialogue in her mind” about her response to this invitation, but in Matthew, Joseph is immediately ready: “When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him.”
If you know the song, “The King of Glory Comes, the Nation Rejoices,” sing it frequently today. How can you rejoice, seeing so much violence, racism, so many lies and such grasping greed? How will you rejoice, trusting that the whole nation of the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia – each and every nation on this earth, including the animal kin-dom, the plants, the air, water and earth itself will be bathed in the healing power of the risen Christ? Breathe out peace on the earth and all creatures. Add to the healing power of Christ by your kindness, joy, gentleness. Make a decision to imitate Joseph, to renounce fear and take Christ into every moment of your day.
With Mary and Joseph we pray: O God, we trust that you will bring down the mighty from their thrones and lift up the lowly. You, through us, will feed the hungry, and you yourself will send the rich away empty.
- Sister Rea McDonnell, SSND
Prayer brings our whole religious life into focus; it supports the rhythm of our lives emphasizing now the person, now the community, now the world we serve. Thus, prayer is our continuing response to God's continuing call to mission."
You Are Sent, Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame