LITURGY IN FOCUS

CALL TO WORSHIP & CENTERING PRAYERS

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Call to worship

God comes to us unexpectedly and is always ready to enter our open and welcoming hearts. Like Mary, we are also called to give birth to Jesus in our personal lives.

  • To the point: Mary went in haste to Elizabeth’s house, entered and greeted her. Elizabeth recognized and responded to the mystery that was taking place. She expressed astonishment, wonder, amazement: “how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” An even greater astonishment, wonder, amazement: the Lord himself comes to us. How do we respond?
  • Connecting the Gospel (Luke 1:39-45) to the first reading: How astounding and unexpected that the majestic ruler of Israel should come from so small and insignificant a place as Bethlehem. Even more astounding is that the Son of God comes to share our humanity!
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: We are overjoyed at a visit from a beloved relative or friend whom we have not seen for some time. We are being invited this Sunday to recognize and rejoice over the abiding presence of Jesus, who is beloved relative (brothers and sisters in Christ) and friend.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Luke 1: 39-45)

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb.

Treasures spilling over, secrets pouring out in sheer delight.
The women hugging as the baby leaps for joy!
Holy Spirit, fill us, too, with yourself.
Teach us to love. And let us cry out in joy,
since the Lord has come to be
within us and within all humankind.
Let our spirits jump for joy!

The First Reading

(Micah 5: 1-4a)

You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel.

A king comes from tiny Bethlehem.
His strength will be God’s. His majesty, God’s.
His blessing will reach the ends of the Earth
for he shall be called Prince of Peace.
And how will you know him?
He will be wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.
O Jesus, make our strength, like Bethlehem’s,
lovingly quiet within your presence.

The Second Reading

(Hebrews 10: 5-10)

Behold I come to do your will.

Not holocausts and sin offerings,
but a perfect yes to God.
One body, once for all.
Christ, you are humankind’s
most sublime Amen to the Father,
and most wondrous gift to us.

Copyright © 2021, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection