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Vol: 46, No.4 4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT ( C) December 23 2018  
 
almighty God, as the feast day of our salvation draws ever nearer, so we may press forward all the more
 
eagerly to the worthy celebration of the mystery of your Son’s Nativity. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
LITURGY AND LIFE
1st READING:
THE IMPORTANCE OF BETHLEHEM
Micah makes a prophecy about the Messiah who will come. He points to Bethlehem, the city that David made the capital city of his empire, and says that from her will come the future Messiah. Micah makes this prophecy seven hundred years before the event actually takes place. The Messiah does come from Bethlehem, the city of David. God makes a fresh start by appointing Bethlehem again as the birthplace of the future king. Like David, the coming ruler hails from the insignificant town of Bethlehem. God prefers the humble and the lowly as a starting point for the realization of His salvific plan.
2nd READING:
THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST
This passage deals with the sacrifice of Christ. The author argues that Christ’s sacrifice is superior to the earlier sacrifices because he offers personal obedience to replace the ritual sacrifices. The author uses a quotation from the Psalm (Ps 40:6-8) to express his thought. Read in the light of Christ, the quoted verses from Psalm 40 take on a prophetic meaning. They evoke the incarnation of the Son of God and his redemptive obedience. The author emphasizes that Christ abolishes the worship set by the law and replaces it with a different type of relationship with God. The first cult was ineffective. But the sacrifice of Christ in which he offers himself in perfect fulfilment of God’s will has been fully efficacious for our sanctification.
GOSPEL:
MARY MEETS ELIZABETH
The gospel of today places before us the encounter between Mary and Elizabeth. The encounter between these two highly
 
favoured women is exemplary. The encounter takes place in a small town near Jerusalem identified as the hill country. The meeting between Mary and Elizabeth is extremely cordial for, the first thing that Mary does is to greet Elizabeth. The Holy Spirit plays a major part in this encounter because Elizabeth bursts out in joyful praise. The working of the Spirit in Elizabeth is so strong that the baby in her womb recognizes Mary as the mother of God. Elizabeth is totally other-centred for everything that she says is about Mary and her highly favoured status. One of the characteristics of this encounter is the repeated theme of joy. Mary, Elizabeth and the child in her womb are all joyful. Joy is a distinguishing mark of a disciple of Christ. It is the Spirit that makes Christian lives joyful.
Elizabeth’s inspired exclamation honours Mary. She is declared blessed, first, because she has been chosen to be the mother of the Messiah. A woman could gain honour by being the mother of a great son. Mary deserves great honour for this reason, yet later in Luke this view will be qualified. More important than the blood relation of mother and son is hearing the Word of God and obeying it as a disciple (Lk 11:27-28). Mary is honoured for a second reason: she is “blessed” because she believed. Mary’s “yes” to God was a great act of faith. It was important that Mary believed the promise that God would bring the Messiah to Israel through her and that she was willing to offer herself for this purpose. Mary’s great act of faith is the beginning in the new era of salvation. The celebration of the birth of Jesus has come near. It is our turn to live our faith and proclaim it.
– AK
December 2018 CHRISTMAS AND OCTAVE Psalter Week 4
24 Mon (V) 2 Sam 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16/ Ps 89:2-5, 27, 29/ Lk 1:67-79
25 Tue (W) THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD – Solemnity (See Leaflet)
26 Wed (R) St Stephen, Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59/ Ps 31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17/ Mt 10:17-22
27 Thu (W) ST JOHN, Ap, Ev, Feast, 1 Jn 1:1-4/ Ps 97: 1-2, 5-6, 11-12/ Jn 20:1-8
28 Fri (R) The Holy Innocents, Feast, 1 Jn 1:5–2:2/ Ps 124:2-5, 7-8/ Mt 2:13-18
29 Sat (W) St Thomas Becket, 1 Jn 2:3-11/ Ps 96:1-3, 5-6/ Lk 2:22-35
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