We are coming to the end of this beautiful and joyful season of Advent which stresses how much God wants to be with us in unceasing Love. Advent is part of the Liturgical Year’s Christmas Cycle.
According to the new Ordo (page 13), the four weeks of Advent are divided into two stages:
- the First Sunday of Advent to December 16 (a Monday) where the emphasis is on Christ’s coming for Judgement and our preparation for awaiting in hope the coming of our Saviour; this continues the theme of the final weeks of Ordinary Time in the previous Liturgical Year;
- and December 17 to the morning of December 24 whose focus is on the solemn happy preparation for the Solemnity of the Lord which is Christmas.
Today we are in 2. Note that Joseph and Mary in today’s Scriptures were/are also in 2.
Please note or observe that “today’s readings [from Scripture] confirm that God comes to us in ways than can confuse or challenge us” (the introduction by Teresa Whalen Lux in Living With Christ for the Fourth Sunday of Advent). Many of us might focus on God coming to us in family gatherings or great liturgies at this time of the year – and that is okay – but do not forget the other ways that God comes to us such as through the homeless poor or “cranky” relatives, etc.
As we celebrate Christ’s coming to us this year, let us open ourselves to the new ways of seeing God coming to us out of Love: note how very beautifully today this is expressed in the Entrance Antiphon.
And why does Christ come to us? To share His Resurrection with all of us: see today’s Collect/Opening Prayer.
Emmanuel (God-With-Us) is promised to us in the First Reading and He comes to us in the Gospel that deals with Joseph’s dream that tells us how Christ comes to us through Mary (in those days people believed God speaks to us in our dreams – a loving way that still remains true when we analyze our dreams today with all we know through science and medicine). The link of these two readings is made explicit in the Second Reading which also urges us to be missionaries of this Good News. Today’s Responsorial Psalm fits in very well in terms of this, today’s theme.
The priest celebrant of today’s Mass should be using Advent Preface II; please listen and pray this very carefully internally and see how it expresses all of the above together so well.
Let us all become and be hungry for the Lord’s special coming to us individually and collectively. And then note humbly and graciously that each one of us is called to give the Christ who comes to us to the whole world as Mary did: please note how explicitly this is stated in today’s Prayer Over the Offerings. Christ bless you in a very special way as He comes to you this year. Amen.