December 22, 2019: Fourth Sunday of Advent
Catholic Social Teaching: All seven principles !!! How will you resolve to live CST in the coming new decade?
First Reading: Isaiah 78:10-14
Psalm: 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Second Reading: Romans 1:1-7
Gospel: Matthew 1:18-24
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Father’s only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is “Christ”, that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples. Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.” (486) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the, Fourth Sunday of Advent, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The prototype of the king chosen by Yahweh is David, whose humble origins are a favourite topic of the biblical account (cf. 1 Sam 16:1-13). David is the recipient of the promise (cf. 2 Sam 7:13-16; Ps 89:2-38, 132:11-18), which places him at the beginning of a special kingly tradition, the “messianic” tradition. Notwithstanding all the sins and infidelities of David and his successors, this tradition culminates in Jesus Christ, who is par excellence “Yahweh’s anointed” (that is, “the Lord’s consecrated one”, cf. 1 Sam 2:35, 24:7,11, 26:9,16; Ex 30:22-32), the son of David (cf. Mt 1:1-17; Lk 3:23-38; Rom 1:3).
The failure of kingship on the historical level does not lead to the disappearance of the ideal of a king who, in fidelity to Yahweh, will govern with wisdom and act in justice. This hope reappears time and again in the Psalms (cf. Ps 2, 18, 20, 21, 72). In the messianic oracles, the figure of a king endowed with the Lord’s Spirit, full of wisdom and capable of rendering justice to the poor, is awaited in eschatological times (cf. Is 11:2-5; Jer 23:5-6). As true shepherd of the people of Israel (cf. Ezek 34:23-24, 37:24), he will bring peace to the nations (cf. Zech 9:9-10). In Wisdom Literature, the king is presented as the one who renders just judgments and abhors iniquity (cf. Prov 16:12), who judges the poor with equity (cf. Prov 29:14) and is a friend to those with a pure heart (cf. Prov 22:11). There is a gradual unfolding of the proclamation of what the Gospels and other New Testament writings see fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the definitive incarnation of what the Old Testament foretold about the figure of the king. (378)
The peace of Christ is in the first place reconciliation with the Father, which is brought about by the ministry Jesus entrusted to his disciples and which begins with the proclamation of peace: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!”’ (Lk 10:5; cf. Rom 1:7). Peace is then reconciliation with one’s brothers and sisters, for in the prayer that Jesus taught us, the “Our Father”, the forgiveness that we ask of God is linked to the forgiveness that we grant to our brothers and sisters: “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Mt 6:12). With this twofold reconciliation Christians can become peacemakers and therefore participate in the Kingdom of God, in accordance with what Jesus himself proclaims in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Mt 5:9). (492)
The last week of Advent is only a couple of days, but the most challenging. Distractions abound with travel plans, dinners to delight, gifts and trees to trim in holiday attire and even the challenges of winter weather can render the focus of Christmas sifting in the sands of time. The Psalmist reminds us to “Let the Lord enter”. Not to leave Him bewildering looking into the windows of our home and heart wondering why we forget to open the door and offer Him a warm welcome. As Joseph did what the angel of the Lord instructed, instead of the rationality of his head, we too must awake from our slumber of attempting to please others and our desire for a season of perfection to pause and fill the spiritual desires of our hearts. To trust in the synergy of prophets’ exclamations pronouncing our Savior’s entrance into humanity. The lineage of Divine statements we must not discount, but affirm by our desire to let the Lord enter our lives. Where ever we seek the Lord, on His holy mountain or standing on holy ground of consecrated sacredness, those journeys, by foot and thought, only bear transformative fruit if we cleanse our hearts of personal desire. A cleansing of soot deposited from the residue of burning bridges that could have linked us to the Lord. The need to cease living in vain opulence and piety. For the only peace is to seek the Lord and receive His blessings. An openness to let Him permeate our fiber, a spiritual osmosis of harmony with His ways. Where we don’t tempt the Lord or demand a sign of His providence, for the sign was already articulated in the Lord’s nativity. The gospel of discipleship, the Spirit of holiness acclaimed in His resurrection, so others don’t search for a sign and further close the avenue for the Lord to enter their lives. We receive the greatest gift, filled with grace and peace, when we let the Lord enter our lives. Don’t wait till the last package is wrapped, the last cookie is baked or until you are sitting in the pew waiting for midnight mass to start before you treasure the experiential message of Advent to let the Lord enter the world today with the faith you have and the priorities you keep.
Individual Reflection:Romans 1:1-7
Share Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace message with your friends and parish. Ask for a quote from the message be included on the parish website and bulletin and post on your social media:
Family Reflection: Isaiah 7:10-14
Pause each day before Christmas to read and reflect on the O antiphons:
Sing O Come O Come Emmanuel one last time before Advent ends, pondering how you have let the Lord come into your life this Advent:
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born December 14, 2019 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.