Fourth Sunday of Advent: December 23, 2018
Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Discovering that they are loved by God, people come to understand their own transcendent dignity, they learn not to be satisfied with only themselves but to encounter their neighbour in a network of relationships that are ever more authentically human. Men and women who are made “new” by the love of God are able to change the rules and the quality of relationships, transforming even social structures. They are people capable of bringing peace where there is conflict, of building and nurturing fraternal relationships where there is hatred, of seeking justice where there prevails the exploitation of man by man. Only love is capable of radically transforming the relationships that men maintain among themselves. This is the perspective that allows every person of good will to perceive the broad horizons of justice and human development in truth and goodness. (4) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Micah 5:1-4a
Psalm: 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:5-10
Gospel: Luke 1:39-45
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: “Let it be to me according to your word.” By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: “Thy will be done.” (2677) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the, Fourth Sunday of Advent Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The promise of peace that runs through the entire Old Testament finds its fulfilment in the very person of Jesus. Peace, in fact, is the messianic attribute par excellence, in which all other beneficial effects of salvation are included. The Hebrew word “shalom” expresses this fullness of meaning in its etymological sense of “completeness” (cf. Is 9:5ff; Mic 5:1-4). The kingdom of the Messiah is precisely the kingdom of peace (cf. Job 25:2; Ps 29:11; 37:11; 72:3,7; 85:9,11; 119:165; 125:5, 128:6; 147:14; Song 8:10; Is 26:3,12; 32:17f.; 52:7; 54:10; 57:19; 60:17; 66:12; Hag 2:9; Zech 9:10; et al.). Jesus “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility among people, reconciling them with God (cf. Eph 2:14-16). This is the very effective simplicity with which Saint Paul indicates the radical motivation spurring Christians to undertake a life and a mission of peace.
On the eve of his death, Jesus speaks of his loving relation with the Father and the unifying power that this love bestows upon his disciples. It is a farewell discourse which reveals the profound meaning of his life and can be considered a summary of all his teaching. The gift of peace is the seal on his spiritual testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). The words of the Risen Lord will not be any different; every time that he meets his disciples they receive from him the greeting and gift of peace: “Peace be with you” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
The last week of Advent, a truncated two short, maybe hectic days to ponder the Lord’s coming to us if we don’t get distracted on the way to the manger with detours to the mall or grocery store. A journey we should take each and every day and every season of our lives. The acuity to see in the least among us, as deemed by society, can come forth with the greatest gifts. A posture of looking around us to see Christ in every person and all creation. For when we let ourselves see His face we shall be saved, since denying another is denying Christ in the vine he nurtures, strengthens and protects with His love, not the law. The call of peace the Prince of Peace invites us to participate in. If we legalistically operate our faith like an instruction manual with sacrifices and offerings attempting to appease God, we have mocked the Divine in pagan acts which He takes no delight. For He desires we come to do His will, modeled for us once for all. His Son He placed in the manger and journeyed to the cross that should cause us to leap for joy or do we sit slumped in our easy chair pondering the next click on the TV remote or our phone? Joy cannot be fulfilled living within ourselves, but only when we journey to bring the joy of the Lord to others. A journey across a room, across town, across cultures, across generations or across the globe physically, electronically or prayerfully. To enter another’s home, physically or literally, to stand in their reality as Jesus goes with us and we make His presence knows. An act modeled by Mary, the Mother of God, for us to emulate by doing the will of God. An act of greeting people, not shunning people, ostracizing as sinners beneath our dignity. We are blessed by belief in what was spoken to us by the Word. The gift fulfilled on the star studded night illuminating our path to the manger, the warmth as we enter from the chill. Believe and give the gift you have been given each day of your life by doing the will of God. The call of reciprocating God’s love in our world instead of a false, self-serving mentality of our need to appease God with sacrifice and offerings….something He doesn’t desire. Emmanuel, God is with us. Will we believe, live and act like He really is ?
Individual Reflection: Hebrews 10:5-10
What will you do in 2019 to focus on doing the will of God instead of enamored with a legalistic faith of sacrifices and offerings?
Family Reflection: Luke 1:39-45
Spend time in silence as you place baby Jesus in the manger of your nativity scene.
Prayer: Prayerfully read the Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55, Mary’s proclamation of faith that follows today’s Gospel reading.
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 13, 2018 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.