Fourth Sunday of Advent

Reading 1 – 2 SM 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16
Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 27-29
Reading 2 ROM 16:25-27
Gospel LK 1:26-38

“The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you”
(Luke 1:26-28).

In this last Sunday of Advent, God sends two messengers, the prophet Nathan and the angel Gabriel, to deliver his commands to David and Mary.

Through Nathan, God tells David not to build a house for God. Instead, God promises to build a temple for David (cf. 2 SM 7:11); a temple to serve all generations:

“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations”
(PS 89:4-5).

God’s promise to David is fulfilled when Gabriel announces to Mary

 “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his kingdom there will be no end”
(LK 1:31-33).

In today’s readings, God used his messengers to announce the good news of Advent: the prophecy and fulfillment of God’s kingdom revealed in Jesus Christ. When Mary said “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (LK 1:38), God gave us the perfect model for obedience of faith.

Advent is the season of preparation, penance and joy; a time to surrender to God as Mary did.

 

- God, I give my heart to you this day; may you will it to please you.

Third Sunday of Advent

Reading 1:  Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
Responsorial Psalm: Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
Reading 2: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28

“The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God” (IS 61:1-2).

These words, first spoken by the prophet Isaiah and repeated by Jesus at the beginning of his ministry, are instructions for service and evangelization (see LK 4:16-30).

In addition to being a time of preparation, Advent is an opportunity to reflect on the suffering of the poor and weak (cf. Psalm 41:1). It is an invitation to minister to the human and spiritual needs of the neediest amongst us. A ministry marked by joy and prayer     (cf. 1 THES 5:16).

Let’s remember this day that it is by following Jesus’s teachings that we become anointed and rejoice in our God (cf. IS 61:10b). It is how, like John the Baptist, we become “the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’” (JN 1:23).

- God, I give my heart to you this day; may you will it to please you.