Advent Week Four - Cycle C

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Advent Week Four - Cycle C

Introduction

In these last days before Christmas, it is no longer the first readings from the prophets that are leading us to the celebration of the Incarnation. Rather, it is the gospels; namely the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke. As we listen once again to the story of Jesus’ first coming into this world as one of us our whole being – heart, mind, body and soul – are caught up in the anticipation and fulfillment of the promised Messiah, Emmanuel, “God-with-us”.

Divider ReflectionThe First Reading reminds us that the long awaited ruler in Israel will come from a most unexpected place and people, a people “too small to be considered among the clans of Judah” and yet he “shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the Lord…he shall be peace.” (Micah 5: 3-4) This promised ruler will not have the pedigree of a ruler expected by the culture. No. He will lead his people like a shepherd tends a flock – knowing each one by name – and will rely on the power of the Lord to sustain him, not on might and weaponry. Peace will be the hallmark of his rule.

Psalm 80 asks the Lord to “look down from heaven and see…take care of this vine…protect what you planted”. The refrain which we repeat throughout the psalm is a plea: “Lord, make us turn to you, let us see your face and we shall be saved.” The presence and protection of the Lord is longed for and desired.

The Letter to the Hebrews expresses concisely our graced reality: it is by God’s will that “we have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

The passage from Luke’s Gospel narrates the events of the Visitation: Mary, travelling and leaving “in haste” to be with her cousin Elizabeth; Mary greeting Elizabeth who is filled with the Holy Spirit and proclaims in a loud voice, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb”; and the infant in Elizabeth’s womb, John the Baptist, leaping for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice. These two great women of Scripture witness to what it means to be a disciple. They listen, respond and hasten to obey the voice of God. They embody and express anticipation and fulfillment of the promise in abundance.

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