Fourth Sunday in Advent

Bearing Christ – Gospel in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Bearing Christ – Gospel in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

This is the type of surrender to which we are all called, one in which we don’t measure out our faith or faithfulness by the quantity (or quality!) of specific deeds themselves, but by the depth of our own “Yes” to God and all the challenges, discomforts and hardships this may entail. As Fred has captured beautifully in the first two posts of this week, it may take us to places we never imagined we’d go and put us in situations we would be otherwise prone to avoid (namely, the cross!), but the value and power of that obedience to bring God’s healing and redemption to not only our own lives but also those in the world around us inestimable.

For it is the means by which we, like Our Lady, bear Christ in and for the world around us.

More

A Life of Obedience – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

A Life of Obedience – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Some may back away from an obedience so complete, believing that serving God means loss to self. After all, look what it got Jesus – a cross. Others may say it is our duty anyway. In truth, they are right; it is our duty anyway. However, there is more to it than that. Obeying God did bring Christ to the cross but on the cross he became the Savior of the world; and beyond the cross, his obedience brought him to the resurrection, to eternal glory, and to the right hand of God. Adam, Satan, and all of us have made the same mistake too often and too long. Obeying God in the long term loses us nothing, but gains us everything and has it the power to bless countless others in the world around us. .

More

The Power of Yes – First Reading in Preparation to the Fourth Sunday in Advent

The Power of Yes – First Reading in Preparation to the Fourth Sunday in Advent

So it is that the Birth of Jesus in the city of David has not one hint of accident about it. It was fully planned by God, the way paved by God, and consummated by Mary and Joseph whose desire was to cooperate fully with God. Once again, Mary (and Joseph) said yes. Yes to a long, difficult, and harrowing journey while far along in her pregnancy. Yes to separation from family and friends who could help and support at the birth. Yes to uncertain and rugged lodging both on the way and on their arrival. And yes to many, many other things as well, all because God had asked it of her. The Messiah must be born in Bethlehem and so she must go to Bethlehem with Joseph.

More

She Said Yes – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

She Said Yes – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Mary said yes. And for that yes, does she not deserve our honor and veneration? And by that yes did she not become the example of the yes each of us should also give to God? Surely we too are the servant of the Lord and it should be to us according to his word, just as it was with her. Certainly not as much is riding on our response, but something is: one soul to save, one who is wretched to comfort, one captive to ransom, one condemned to free. Christ wants to be born in each of us and work through each of us. And, because every soul is of ultimate worth, “all heaven and earth is holding its breath” for our reply.

More

An Inexpressible Gift – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

An Inexpressible Gift – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

without a doubt Paul is definitely like a child who has been promised a present, given all sorts of hints and clues as to what it could be, got every guess wrong, finally opened the present and discovered it was what he had always wanted (but didn’t even know existed), and better than he had ever dreamed. It is that surprise and exaltation that erupts in today’s passage, and I hope erupts in you as this Advent you come to remember the wonder of the “revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages.”

More

The God Who Keeps His Promises – First Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

The God Who Keeps His Promises – First Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

During those 600 years of waiting, the cry of every faithful Israelite must have been, “How Long, O Lord, How Long?” But no matter how great the darkness, no matter how impossible the situation seemed, God did not fail in his promises. To the contrary he fulfilled them more abundantly than they could have ever imagined. He fulfilled them in Christ. As you look to the Christ child this Christmas, see there not simply a babe in a manger, but the supreme and earth-shattering evidence of a God who does not fail in his word, even when we fail him. For he is the God is the God of Love, the God who keeps His promises.

More