Readings for Sunday 20 December 2015 (Fourth Sunday of Advent)
Mic 5:1-4. Ps 79:2-3, 15-16, 18-19, R/ v 4. Heb 10:5-10. Lk 1:39-44. www.catholicbishops.ie/readings.
We prepare for Christmas with the attitudes of Elizabeth and Mary. Like Elizabeth we are open to receive the Christ with wonder and joy. Like Mary we are ready to do the will of God as it is made clear to us. That may mean standing by the cross before we come to the glory of the Resurrection.
The “O” Antiphons – O Clavis David (O Key of David)
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 fourth of the seven O Antiphons – O Clavis David.
Latin: O clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel: qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris.
English: O Key of David, and scepter of the house of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: come, and lead forth the captive who sits in the shadows from his prison.
Click here to listen to O Clavis David.
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 Brendan Kelly, Bishop of Achonry. In this piece Bishop Kelly reflects on the story of the Visitation and the unalloyed joy in the meeting of the mothers-to-be, Mary and Elizabeth. Click below to listen to the audio in English and in Irish.
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 called upon the international community to assist in every way possible to achieve a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis alike. Bishops prayed 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.