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We’ve reached the last Sunday in Advent, now the countdown begins…

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Reading 1 Is 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

  1. (7c and 10b) Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
    The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
    the world and those who dwell in it.
    For he founded it upon the seas
    and established it upon the rivers.
    R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
    Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
    or who may stand in his holy place?
    One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
    who desires not what is vain.
    R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
    He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
    a reward from God his savior.
    Such is the race that seeks for him,
    that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
    R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.

Reading 2 Rom 1:1-7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,
called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God,
which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh,
but established as Son of God in power
according to the Spirit of holiness
through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
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,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
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.

Alleluia Mt 1:23

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 1:18-24

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.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
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.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.

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“The season of Advent is meant to establish our true horizon with greater clarity. For those who have lost perspective, the season proposes a method for reclaiming it. That method involves both a look back to the expectations of the Israelites and a look forward to the return of the Son of Man.”

-from The Little Way of Advent

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“There are two ways of knowing how good God is: one is never to lose Him, and the other is to lose Him and then to find Him.”

— Archbishop Fulton Sheen

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“Christianity is really a sort of continuation of the Incarnation. Each of us is asked to give Our Lord a further chance of satisfying His love for God and His love for men by living in us, and by performing in partnership with us, acts of charity—both to God directly in heaven and for His creatures here on earth. And Our Lord wishes also to use us as a means of letting others show their love for Him through the things they do for us. We should note this double aspect of Christian charity. It should be done by Christ and by us in partnership with Him, to Christ and to His members united in Him. It will not be till we see Him face to face in heaven that we will perceive the full depth of meaning in His prayer to the Father at the Last Supper: ‘That the love wherewith thou has loved me may be in them, and I in them’ (John 7:26).”

— Dom Mary Eugene Boylan

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-You Are My Beloved – By Henri Nowen

In the world there are many other voices speaking — loudly: “Prove that you are the beloved. Prove you’re worth something. Prove you have any contribution to make. Do something relevant. Be sure to make a name for yourself. At least have some power — then people will love you; then people will say you’re wonderful, you’re great.”

These voices are so strong. They touch our hidden insecurities and drive us to become very busy trying to prove to the world that we are good people who deserve some attention. Sometimes we think that our busyness is just an expression of our vocation, but Jesus knew that often our attempts to prove our worth are an example of temptation. Right after Jesus heard the voice say, “You are my beloved,” another voice said, “Prove you are the beloved. Do something. Change these stones into bread. Be sure you’re famous. Jump from the Temple…” Jesus said, “No, I don’t have to prove anything. I am already beloved.”

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