Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 23, 2018
1Now you are walled about with a wall; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike upon the cheek the ruler of Israel. 2But you, O Bethlehem Eph’rathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. 3Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in travail has brought forth; then the rest of his brethren shall return to the people of Israel. 4And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.
5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou prepared for me;6in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure.7Then I said, `Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God, ‘as it is written of me in the roll of the book.”8When he said above, “Thou hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),9then he added, “Lo, I have come to do thy will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
1Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth 2before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us! 14Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, 15the stock which thy right hand planted. 17But let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, the son of man whom thou hast made strong for thyself! 18Then we will never turn back from thee; give us life, and we will call on thy name!
39In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40and she entered the house of Zechari’ah and greeted Elizabeth. 41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!43And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Reflection for the day: “What I wish above all is, that you busy yourselves in the pure love of Jesus Christ, in the desire for His glory, and the salvation of souls which He has so dearly purchased.” St. Ignatius of Loyola