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Friday, 17 December 2021 13:20

Celebrating At Home - 4th Sunday of Advent

The promise fulfilled (Luke 1:39-44)

The great Christmas feast is almost here. As always in Advent, what is promised in the first reading is brought to fulfilment in the Gospel reading. We began Advent with the cry, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’. We will end it with the joyful shout, ‘God is with us!’

Beautiful words from the Prophet Micah form the first reading today which looks forward to the birth of a leader for Israel who, as a shepherd king gathers the people and feeds them with the power of the Lord and the majesty of God. His powerful reign will bring about an era of security and he himself will be peace.

What Micah looks forward to in words becomes flesh and blood in the person of Jesus.
Luke’s touching story of the meeting of the pregnant cousins, Mary and Elizabeth, is full of joy, warmth and love.

It’s not hard to imagine the joyful greetings and embrace at Mary’s surprise visit. Mary greets Elizabeth with the usual greeting, Shalom (‘Peace!’) which is exactly what she brings with her - the One Micah talks about in the first reading, the Messiah.

In his very first act of witness to the presence of the Messiah, John leaps in his mother’s womb which releases within her the power of prophecy. Filled with the Holy Spirit Elizabeth proclaims Mary as blessed, wonders at why she, herself, should have been found worthy to give hospitality to the mother of the Lord, and blesses Mary’s faith that the promises of the Lord would indeed find fulfilment in her.

Can we dare to imagine that we, too, carry within us the Peace of God? Can we welcome the presence of God within us and one another? Can we find the ways to nourish our awareness of that presence, let it grow stronger and deeper until our whole life is filled with God, immersed in God and overflows in every word, thought and action of ours?

The Season of Advent

The word “advent” means appearing, arrival, to come. Advent is the Church’s time of preparation for celebrating God’s gift of his Son. Our liturgy will gather the great Advent themes of hope, expectation and preparation. During Advent we recall Christ’s coming at Bethlehem and we look forward to his second coming at the end of time.
Advent is a season of joyful expectation.

Advent has two parts. The first two Sundays focus on preparing for Jesus’ return at the end of time. The second two Sundays focus on preparing to celebrate the anniversary of Jesus’ birth.

The Gospels of the Sundays in Advent have four great movements 1. Stay Awake! 2. Prepare! 3. Rejoice! and 4. Receive!

Advent is a journey from
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
to
Emmanuel. God-is-with-us!

...

This resource is presented by the Carmelites of Australia & Timor-Leste at a time when we cannot gather together as we usually do to celebrate the Eucharist. We are conscious that Christ is present not only in the Blessed Sacrament but also in the Scriptures and in our hearts. Even when we are on our own we remain part of the Body of Christ.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. During Advent it is particularly appropriate to have an Advent Wreath in the place where you pray. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

This text is arranged with parts for a leader and for all to pray, but the leader’s parts can be shared among those present.

As you use this prayer know that the Carmelites will be remembering in our prayer all the members of our family at this time.

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