Fourth Sunday of Advent

Call to worship

On this Last Sunday of Advent, the Church calls us to reflect on how we embrace the birth of Jesus. Can we hear God’s voice in our dreams calling us to be more open and to welcome Christ in new and unexpected ways?

  • To the point: In this Gospel, the state of affairs is not what it appears to be. Mary is not unfaithful, but faithful. Mary is with child, but a virgin. The infant is not only an earthly child, but also a heavenly one. Yet the infant is not heaven-bound, but an earth-bound Emmanuel. Joseph, not the father, but in a father’s role, names the child Jesus. When the Spirit of God is at work, and we cooperate as did Mary and Joseph, something altogether new happens: mystery abounds, and “God is with us.”
  • Connecting the Gospel (Matt 1:18-24) to the second reading: It is the gifts of the “grace of apostleship” and “obedience of faith” that enable us to cooperate with the “Spirit of holiness,” as did Mary and Joseph. Mystery abounds and something new happens in us: “God is with us.”
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: Mystery abounds when we are willing to relinquish control and open ourselves to the unexpected.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Matthew 1: 18-24)

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.”

She conceived the holy child within her
because “the Holy Ghost over the bent world
broods with warm breastand with ah! bright wings.”
Softly caring, watching, always at hand,
warming the world with love.
God among us. God with us.
Be born for us soon, soon.
Quote: Gerard Manley Hopkins from “God’s Grandeur.”

The First Reading

(Isaiah 7: 10-14)

The Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying: ask for a sign from the Lord, your God.

A virgin would conceive and bear a son who would be called Emmanuel.
In the beginning and with us now, and ever will be with us. Emmanuel.
Lord, guide with your signs that tell us you are with us now.

The Second Reading

(Romans 1: 1-7)

Among whom are you also, who are called to belong
to Jesus Christ; … called to be holy.

Son of God, you came to us from David,
into our flesh, and into our time.
You suffered all that we suffer daily.
We are yours. We belong to you.
Bestow grace upon grace.
Send us, with your love,
to the whole world and make it holy.

Copyright © 2022, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection