Thứ Hai, 19 tháng 12, 2016

DECEMBER 20, 2016 : TUESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK IN ADVENT

Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Advent
Lectionary: 196

Reading 1IS 7:10-14
The LORD spoke to Ahaz:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!” 
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David! 
Is it not enough for you to weary men,
must you also weary my God? 
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.
Responsorial PsalmPS 24:1-2, 3-4AB, 5-6
R. (see 7c and 10b) Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.
Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 1:26-38
In the sixth month,
the angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.


Meditation: "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"
How does God reveal his favor to us? In the psalms we pray, "Lord, show me a sign of your favor" (Psalm 86:17). In the Old Testament God performed many signs and miracles to demonstrate his love and mercy for his people, such as their deliverance from slavery in Egypt and the miraculous crossing of the Red sea on dry land (Psalm 78:43-53). When Ahaz, king of Judah and heir to the throne of David (735 B.C.) was surrounded by forces that threatened to destroy him and his people, God offered him a sign to reassure him that God would not abandon the promise he made to David and his descendants. King Ahaz, however, had lost hope in God and refused to ask for a sign of favor. God, nonetheless, gave a sign to assure his people that he would indeed give them a Savior who would rule with peace and righteousness (Isaiah 7:11ff).
The new era of salvation begins with the conception and birth of Jesus
We see the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy and the unfolding of God's plan of redemption in the events leading up to the Incarnation, the birth of the Messiah King. The new era of salvation begins with the miraculous conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. This child to be born is conceived by the gracious action of the Holy Spirit upon Mary, who finds favor with God (Luke 1:28). 
His kingdom will have no end
As Eve was the mother of all humanity doomed to sin, now Mary becomes the mother of the new Adam who will father a new humanity by his grace (Romans 5:12-21). This child to be conceived in her womb is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. He will be "great" and "Son of the Most High" and "King" and his name shall be called "Jesus" (Luke 1:31-32), which means "the Lord saves." "He will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). The angel repeats to Mary, the daughter of the house of David, the promise made to King David: "The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end" (2 Samuel 7:12-16, Isaiah 9:6-7, Luke 1:32-33).
Mary is a true hearer of the Word of God
How does Mary respond to the word of God delivered by the angel Gabriel? She knows she is hearing something beyond human capability. It will surely take a miracle which surpasses all that God has done previously. Her question, "how shall this be, since I have no husband" is not prompted by doubt or skepticism, but by wonderment! She is a true hearer of the Word and she immediately responds with faith and trust. 
Mary's prompt response of "yes" to the divine message is a model of faith for all believers. Mary believed God's promises even when they seemed impossible. She was full of grace because she trusted that what God said was true and would be fulfilled. She was willing and eager to do God's will, even if it seemed difficult or costly. Mary is the "mother of God" because God becomes incarnate when he takes on flesh in her womb.  When we pray the Nicene Creed we state our confession of faith in this great mystery: "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man". 
If we say "yes" to God we can live a grace-filled life
God gives us grace and he expects us to respond with the same willingness, obedience, and heartfelt trust as Mary did. When God commands he also gives the help, strength, and means to respond. We can either yield to his grace or resist and go our own way. Do you believe in God's promises and do you yield to his grace?
"Heavenly Father, you offer us abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness through your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to live a grace-filled life as Mary did by believing in your promises and by giving you my unqualified 'yes' to your will and plan for my life."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersJesus is Son of God and Son of Mary, by Bede the Venerable, 672-735 A.D.
"We should carefully note the order of the words here, and the more firmly they are engrafted in our heart, the more evident it will be that the sum total of our redemption consists in them. For they proclaim with perfect clarity that the Lord Jesus, that is, our Savior, was both the true Son of God the Father and the true Son of a mother who was a human being. 'Behold,' he says, 'you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son' - acknowledge that this true human being assumed the true substance of flesh from the flesh of the Virgin! 'He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High' - confess too that this same Son is true God of true God, co-eternal Son forever of the eternal Father!" (excerpt from HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS 1.3.22)

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, LUKE 1:26-38
Advent Weekday
(Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalm 24)

KEY VERSE: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God" (v 30).
TO KNOW: After centuries of longing for the Messiah, the glorious announcement was made to a young woman who lived in Nazareth, an insignificant village in northern Israel. Her name was Mary (Hebrew: Miriam, the "exalted one"). As Mary pondered the joyful salutation to her, the angel Gabriel urged her to have no fear as she had found favor with God. Mary's son would be conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. He would be the son of the Most High God, the Holy One, the everlasting King of all the earth who would rule eternally over the "house of Jacob" (v 33) fulfilling the promises made to King David (2 Sm 7:16). Jesus' name (Hebrew: Yeshua, “Yahweh saves”) implied his mission: he would be the Savior of all people. Mary responded with faithful submission to the will of God. She was an example of those whom Jesus declared blessed because of purity of heart and desire to do what God required (Mt 5:3-10).
TO LOVE: What meaning do the names given to Jesus in the annunciation have for you?
TO SERVE: Mary of Nazareth, help me to obey God's will in all the decisions of my life.

O KEY OF DAVID, Tuesday, December 20

Today's O Antiphon is "O Clavis David," (O Key of David). The Lord who came in history, will come again. While we await his return, he gave his Church the Apostle Peter and all of his successors to exercise his own authority, "to open and to shut, to bind and to loose" (Matt 16:19), to act with Christ's authority, and speak with Christ's voice when he teaches the Church.

​O come, thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,

And close the path to misery.





Tuesday 20 December 2016

Tue 20th. Isaiah 7:10-14. Let the Lord enter; he is king of gloryPs 23(24):1-6. Luke 1:26-38.
Openness to God's plan.
A virgin mother? How absurd! Two thousand years of faithful Christian witness has perhaps dulled the incredible leap of faith that Mary took in accepting the angel's message. She surely would have known that few would believe her story, that she and her family would be judged harshly by the community. That is why Mary's story is so wonderful. In the face of all these worries, she places her life into the hands of God: 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word.' If only we were all so receptive to God's plans for us! Let us pray that we grow to accept the hardships that come with faith knowing that we are conforming to God's marvelous design.

ST. DOMINIC OF SILOS

Saint Dominic was born in 1000 in Cañas, Navarre, Spain. He was born a peasant, and as a youth worked as a shepherd until he entered the Benedictine monastery in Navarre. When Dominic refused to hand over the monastery lands at the King of Navarre’s demands, he was forced to leave the house with two other monks.

He fled to Old Castile and was welcomed by the king. He then entered the monastery of San Sebastian in Silos, an almost dilapidated abbey with a mediocre physical and spiritual regimen. 

Within very little time, Dominic, who had been elected abbot, renewed the spirit of the monastery and rebuilt it’s structure, it’s finances, and it’s works of charity. Dominic was known for miracles of healing, which he obtained through prayer and for his work of ransoming Christian prisoners from the moors.
He died on December 10, 1073 in Silos, Spain.

LECTIO DIVINA: LUKE 1: 26-38
Lectio Divina: 
 Tuesday, December 20, 2016

1) Opening prayer
God of the poor and the humble,
we thank you today for choosing Mary
as the Virgin Mother of Jesus, your Son.
Her faith and willing service
opened the way to your new world.
Dispose us to seek your will
and to cooperate with your plans,
that we too, like Mary,
may give to the world its Saviour,
Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading – Luke 1, 26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, you who enjoy God's favour! The Lord is with you.' She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favour. Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.'
Mary said to the angel, 'But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?' The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. And I tell you this too: your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.'
Mary said, 'You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said.' And the angel left her.
3) Reflection
• The visit of the Angel to Mary reminds us of the visit of God to different women of the Old Testament: Sarah, mother of Isaac (Gen 18, 9-15), Anne, mother of Samuel (1 Sam 1, 9-18), the mother of Samson (Jg 13, 2-5). To all of them was announced the birth of a son with an important mission in the realization of God’s plan. 
• The account begins with the expression “in the sixth month”. It is the sixth month of the pregnancy of Elizabeth. The concrete need of Elizabeth, a woman advanced in age who is expecting her first son with the risk of delivery, this is the background of all this episode. Elizabeth is mentioned at the beginning (Lk 1, 26) and at the end of the visit of the angel (Lk 1, 36.39).
• The angel says: “Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour, the Lord is with you”!. Similar words were said also to Moses (Ex 3, 12), to Jeremiah (Jer 1, 8), to Gideon (Jg 6, 12) and to other persons with an important mission in God’s plan. Mary is surprised at the greeting and tries to understand the significance of those words. She is realistic. She wants to understand. She does not accept just any inspiration.
• The angel answers: “Do not be afraid!” Just as it happened in the visit of the angel to Zechariah, here also the first greeting of God is always: “Do not be afraid!”. Immediately the angel recalls the promises of the past which will be fulfilled thanks to the son who will be born and who has to receive the name of Jesus. He will be called the Son of the Most High and in him will be realized the Kingdom of God. This is the explanation of the angel in such a way that Mary is not afraid. 
• Mary is aware of, knows the mission which she is about to receive, but she continues to be realistic. She does not allow herself to be drawn by the greatness of the offer, and observes her condition. She analyses the offer according to certain criteria which she has available. Humanly speaking, it was not possible: “But how can this come about, I have no knowledge of man?”
• The angel explains that the Holy Spirit, present in God’s Word since the Creation (Genesis 1, 2), is capable to realize things which seem impossible. This is why, the Holy One who will be born from Mary will be called Son of God. The miracle repeats itself up until today. When the Word of God is accepted by the poor, something new happens, thanks to the force of the Holy Spirit! Something new and surprising such as a son is born of a virgin or a son is born to a woman of advanced age, like Elizabeth, of whom all said that she was barren, that she could not have children! And the angel adds: “See, your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God”.
• The response of the angel clarifies everything for Mary, and she surrenders: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word”. Mary uses for herself the title of Servant, Handmaid of the Lord. This title of Isaiah, which represents the mission of the people not as a privilege, but rather as a service to the other people (Is 42, 1-9; 49, 3-6). Later Jesus will define his mission as a service: “I have not come to be served, but to serve!” (Mt 20, 28). He learnt this from his Mother!
4) Reflection
• What struck you the most in the visit of the Angel Gabriel to Mary?
• Jesus praises his Mother when he says: “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it” (Lk 11, 28). How does Mary relate to the Word of God during the visit of the Angel?
5) Concluding Prayer
To Yahweh belong the earth and all it contains, 
the world and all who live there;
it is he who laid its foundations on the seas, 
on the flowing waters fixed it firm. (Ps 24,1-2)