December 24, 2017: Fourth Sunday of Advent
Catholic Social Teaching: Care for Creation
First Reading: 2nd Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Psalm: 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29
Second Reading: Romans 16:25-27
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Mary’s prayer is revealed to us at the dawning of the fullness of time. Before the incarnation of the Son of God, and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, her prayer cooperates in a unique way with the Father’s plan of loving kindness: at the Annunciation, for Christ’s conception; at Pentecost, for the formation of the Church, his Body.88 In the faith of his humble handmaid, the Gift of God found the acceptance he had awaited from the beginning of time. She whom the Almighty made “full of grace” responds by offering her whole being: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.” “Fiat”: this is Christian prayer: to be wholly God’s, because he is wholly ours.
(2617) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
2nd Samuel 7:13-16 and Psalm 89:2-38
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)
Heir to the hope of the righteous in Israel and first among the disciples of Jesus Christ is Mary, his Mother. By her “fiat” to the plan of God’s love (cf. Lk 1:38), in the name of all humanity, she accepts in history the One sent by the Father, the Saviour of mankind. In her Magnificat she proclaims the advent of the Mystery of Salvation, the coming of the “Messiah of the poor” (cf. Is 11:4; 61:1). The God of the Covenant, whom the Virgin of Nazareth praises in song as her spirit rejoices, is the One who casts down the mighty from their thrones and raises up the lowly, fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty, scatters the proud and shows mercy to those who fear him (cf. Lk 1:50-53).
Looking to the heart of Mary, to the depth of her faith expressed in the words of the Magnificat, Christ’s disciples are called to renew ever more fully in themselves “the awareness that the truth about God who saves, the truth about God who is the source of every gift, cannot be separated from the manifestation of his love of preference for the poor and humble, that love which, celebrated in the Magnificat, is later expressed in the words and works of Jesus”. Mary is totally dependent upon God and completely directed towards him by the impetus of her faith. She is “the most perfect image of freedom and of the liberation of humanity and of the universe”.(59)
A week of Advent compressed into one day, for tomorrow is Christmas! The faith, hope, joy and peace encapsulated in patient waiting becomes unleashed. But will we try to neatly pack it back into the box on December 26th or even giving it a few days into the New Year, on January 2nd, so the messiness looks contained in a more manageable context? Do we like to build God a house to dwell in of our own architectural plan? We try to delineate boundaries, lines of demarkation for what we think clearly defines the parameters of God but actually cushions our comfort zone. Eyes of faith extol us to vision God beyond the firmaments of our imagination. The infiniteness of God squirms to be exposed, shared, released into the world. Obedient in faith, we should cooperate not hinder the process by letting grace move through us, not possessing grace tightly miserly in our grip. For grace is a gift to be shared not hoarded to propel us on an ego trip of holiness. Words of the angel Gabriel and bestowed grace startled Mary, as foreshadowing the words of Jesus, “Fear Not,” the angel tempered fear in her soul. A soothing balm allowing Mary’s fiat to do God’s will. As we celebrate Christmas, the Incarnation of God, Emmanuel with us, may we not hastily pack the gift back in the box till next year. In a closet with the lights, bows, wrapping paper and unused Christmas cards to gather dust and cobwebs, place it on a table as window dressing of our lives or superficially wear a cross as a mockery to a faith that should be lived not museumized. But let us sign the goodness of the Lord letting faith, hope, joy and peace be known in all the world. A resounding Yes, with a big thank you to the Divine gift of Christmas that we refuse to marginalize, trivialize or make into idolized sacredness that we fail to share in the grittiness of the world. The Incarnation was a gift given with an eternal warranty, so we should never fear to take it out of our homes and churches as we navigate our journey in the world according to God’s word.
Individual Reflection: Romans 16:25-27
Read the 2018 World Day of Peace Message and select portions to share in the parish bulletin and in your ministries: https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/peace/documents/papa-francesco_20171113_messaggio-51giornatamondiale-pace2018.html
Family Reflection: Psalm 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29
“Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord”
As you celebrate Christmas, care for the gift of creation. How can you make plans to reduce, reuse and recycle, the three R’s of conservation, as you celebrate Christmas?
Prayer: Listen to O Come O Come Emmanuel one last time before Christmas and get ready to REJOICE !
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 9, 2017 Feast day of St Juan Diego The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.