Words of Spirit and Life

"Today Jesus asks us to let him become our King. A King that with His word, His example and his immolated life on the cross.." – Pope Francis

4th Sunday of Advent (Year A) – 18th December 2022

Theme: JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD BORN THROUGH THE POWER OF THE  HOLY SPIRIT

  • Isaiah 7:10-14;
  • Psalm 23:1-6. R/ cf. vv.7. 10;
  • Romans 1:1-7
  • Matthew 1:18-24

1. Today is the 4th Sunday of Advent, Liturgical Year A. In a week’s time we will celebrate Christmas! And as we come to the end of the Advent season and as we come close to Christmas, the readings today have something very important to tell us! The readings today tell us that Jesus is the Son of God born through the power of the Holy Spirit!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the Son of God born through the power of the Holy Spirit! He is Emmanuel, that is, “God-is-with-us”! He has come to save us from our sins!

The gospel today tells us that Mary was a virgin and that Joseph did not sleep with Mary. That is why when Mary was found to be with child, Joseph wanted to divorce her. But the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him that Jesus was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit, that is, he is the Son of God, and that he has come to save his people from their sins! He is to be named “Jesus” which means “God saves”!    

Again, the gospel tells us that Jesus is the Son of God born through the power of the Holy Spirit! He is Emmanuel, that is, “God-is-with-us”!

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about Emmanuel, that is, “God-is-with-us”! But more than that, the first reading tells us that it is all God’s initiative! It is all God’s doing! It is all God’s work! It is not man’s initiative! It is not man’s doing! It is not man’s work!

    In fact, the first reading tells us that King Ahaz of Judah rejected God. He did not want the sign of Emmanuel which God offered to him! But more importantly, the first reading tells us that God did not reject Ahaz, but God took the initiative to give King Ahaz the sign of Emmanuel! Thus we read in the first reading:

“The Lord himself, therefore, will give you a sign. It is this: the maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Emmanuel, a name which means ‘God-is-with-us’.” (Is 7:14; SM)     

3. In the liturgy today, the responsorial psalm tells us to welcome the Lord and not to reject him as King Ahaz did! Thus the response:

“Let the Lord enter! He is the king of glory.” (Ps 23:7. 10; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 1-2) tells us that the God who comes to save us is the God who created us! The second stanza (vv. 3-4) tells us that we welcome the Lord with clean hands and pure hearts and without desire for worthless things! The third stanza (vv. 5-6) tells us that if we welcome the Lord he will bless us and save us!

4. The second reading sums it all up! The second reading tells us that Jesus is the son of David according to the flesh, but in the spirit he is the Son of God through the power of the Holy Spirit! He has risen from the dead and has given his grace and mission to Saint Paul to preach the Good News to all the nations, so that all may believe and receive his grace and peace! Peace, Shalom, Salvation!

5. Again, today is the 4th and last Sunday of Advent. In a week’s time we will celebrate Christmas! And as we come to the end of the Advent season and as we come close to Christmas, the readings tell us something very important, that is, Jesus is the Son of God, born through the power of the Holy Spirit!

That is why when we make our Christmas crib we must not only have Jesus, Mary and Joseph; but we must also have God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit! God the Father can be represented by a bright cloud in the form of a piece of lighted cotton wool. God the Holy Spirit can be represented by a white dove. And God the Son is Jesus Christ!

It is important to have the Christmas crib in the house, especially when there are small children! Your children may be too young to go to school, but they will understand and believe what they see! They will be catechized by the Christmas crib, that is, they will receive faith, love and joy from the Christmas crib! The Christmas crib becomes a sacramental for them!

A blessed Advent to all of you! Amen!    

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