Readings for Sunday 18 December 2016 (Fourth Sunday of Advent)
Is 7:10-14. Ps 23:1-6, R/ cf vv 7, 10. Rm 1:1-7. Mt 1:18-24. www.catholicbishops.ie/readings.
Our attention is now directed fully to the coming of Christ in the Christmas mystery. The Preface calls us to wonder at the great happening, to prepare for Christmas in prayer and praise. The psalm tells us to purify our hearts as preparation. Prayer and reconciliation should be features of these days.
The “O” Antiphons – O Adonai (O Lord)
The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17-23, with December 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.
Today we focus on the second of the seven antiphons – O Adonai (O Lord).
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
Click here to listen to O Adonai.
Audio: Advent Thought for the Day
Each day during Advent we are bringing you an audio Thought for the Day. Today’s Thought for the Day is from Bishop John McAreavey, Bishop of Dromore and Chair of the Bishops’ Council for Justice and Peace. In this piece Bishop McAreavey shares a reflection on those who are persecuted for their faith. He asks us to remember our brothers and sisters in the faith who are struggling to maintain their friendship with Christ because of persecution.
Click here to listen to the audio.
The Words of Pope Francis
Pope Francis – Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)
The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple. As the French bishops have taught, it is not born “of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but from the depth of the obligation assumed by the spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life”. – Evangelii Gaudium, 66.
Pope Francis on Twitter
“The Lord put it clearly: you cannot serve two masters. You have to choose between God and money.” – @Pontifex
The call to renewal of our Christian life
The call to renewal of our Christian life is a central part of our preparation for the feast of Christmas. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Penance), we receive the gift of God’s mercy and forgiveness. The celebration of Advent should be an integral part of our preparation for the Feast of the birth of Our Saviour. During this season of Advent, bishops strongly encourage all Catholics to make time to avail of the gift of God’s love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Advent Prayer Intentions
1. For the poor, the hungry, the unemployed, for people without homes,
and all those still struggling to recover from natural disasters.
2. For the Church: that this Advent may be a time marked by simplicity, calmness and quietness
as we wait in hope and wonder for Jesus who is present in our lives now and whose future reign is coming.
Prayers for peace for our fellow Christians in the Holy Land
As we approach Christmas, the time when we celebrate the coming of Christ into our world, Bishops ask for prayers for peace for those in conflict anywhere in the world. Bishops prayed for, and extended solidarity to, our fellow Christians in the Holy Land. Bishops ask for prayers for all Christians around the world who are persecuted and murdered because of their faith.
A psalm setting by Marty Haugen Lord Let Us Turn to You (Psalm 80 vs 1-3). Click here to listen to this piece.