Intention: We pray for a faith-filled and transforming Christmastime for our world, one that fills it with peace, justice, and good will toward all.
Today’s Gospel | Luke 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.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
“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.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
On the eve of our Lord’s birth, the people of Israel were anxious. They were living in hard times, contending daily with insecurity, deprivation, and oppression. In their struggles, they looked to their scriptures and to God’s promise of deliverance. And they were greeted with the sight of a single star, and the good news that a door had been opened to their salvation. It is an ancient story, but unfortunately it is not limited to the past. Modern life, too, is blighted by poverty, violence, corruption, prejudice, and indifference. With all that we have learned and accomplished, there are still people who are forced to exist in a cold and cruel world, without sustenance, without dignity, without fulfillment. Incredibly, the gift of that first Christmas Eve remains in many ways unopened, while we remain ensconced in lifeless ways. For brokenness and despair to not have the final word, we must accept the redemption that has come to dwell among us. For the world’s cycle of ignorance and injustice to be ended, we must open our hearts and repair our ways. For there to be liberation and peace for all, we must repudiate the power of domination and embrace the strength of compassion. Nothing will change unless we change. Jesus came that we might have life and life to the full. The time of Advent is a time for rebirth.
Eternal Father, your love is everlasting. You are our God and we are your people for all eternity. As we ready ourselves to welcome your Perfect Presence in the coming of your Son, may we prepare a place for him in our hearts. Take away our smallness and our fears, and rekindle in us the fire of our faith. Make us ready to receive the gift of our salvation as he seeks to dwell with us and fill us with the light of newborn peace, hope, and love. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts forever.