Reflection: Fourth Sunday Of Advent (C) by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines

4th Advent 2018 pater1

A Reflection Of The Heart
Fourth Sunday Of Advent (C)
23rd December 2018
A Reflection: by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines
*

READINGS:

FIRST READING: MICAH 5:2-5a

Thus says the LORD:
You, Bethlehem of Ephrathah
too small to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient times.
Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time
when she who is to give birth has borne,
and the rest of his kindred shall return
to the children of Israel.
He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
by the strength of the LORD,
in the majestic name of the LORD, his God;
and they shall remain, for now, his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth;
he shall be peace.
*
The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: PSALM 80

R. RESTORE US, O GOD: LET YOUR FACE SHINE, THAT WE MAY BE SAVED.

O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
from your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power,
and come to save us.
R. Restore us, O God: let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong
R. Restore us, O God: let your face shine, that we may be saved,

May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R. Restore us, O God: let your face shine, that we may be saved,
*

SECOND READING: Hebrews 10:5-10

Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll,
behold, I come to do your will, O God.’“

First, he says, “Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in.”
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.”
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this “will,” we have been consecrated
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The Word Of The Lord/ Thanks Be To God.
*

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION:
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Here am I, the servant of the Lord: let it be done to me according to your word.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
*

GOSPEL: Luke 1:39-45

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
*
The Gospel Of The Lord/ Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECTION:
We have now reached the final week of our sojourn in the Advent season. As we light the fourth candle of the Advent Wreath we are being invited to reflect on the love of God. The fourth candle of Advent symbolizes Love. And therefore this Fourth Sunday of Advent reminds us that God is love, that we were created out of love and that God brought salvation to humankind because of love, and now He wants to be born in our hearts. This should be our reflection as we await the coming of Christ in our celebration of Christmas. The birth of our Lord Jesus – his Incarnation is all about God’s love of mankind.
But why is there a need for us to contemplate on God’s love? When we contemplate on the depth of God’s love for us we are filled with awe and wonder. Psalm 8:4 “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them. You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands, you put everything under their feet.” The immensity of God’s love for us humbles us. Then we become grateful people. Our hearts are filled with a profound sense of gratitude. And for this, our response should be one that glorifies God. God is love, and therefore, we should emulate that love in us. So what must we do? In today’s Gospel, the two women, Mary and Elizabeth showed us a perfect example of what must we do. At that time, Mary had just received the news from the Angel that she was to be the mother of Christ. She also learned that her cousin Elizabeth was with a child in her old age. So she went in haste and set out on a journey to be with her cousin. It was such a manifestation of Mary’s great humility and love. Considering the fact that Mary had just received the news that she is to be the mother of Jesus and that the Holy Spirit will overshadow her. That news that she had just received from an angel was something way beyond human comprehension. Yet under such circumstances, she set aside her personal concerns and worries to take care of her cousin and in great humility she served. Both women have received immense grace from God, both of them have found joy in their hearts, both of them have learned to share that love of God with one another. Now both women have become models to us all. All of us, just like Elizabeth and Mary are being called to respond to God’s love. We do this by loving one another. Our love of God demands that we love our neighbor. As we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent and as we anticipate the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus, let us be reminded of its real purpose and meaning which is God’s love. We are therefore being called to be people of love. At this point let me share with you one of my favorite Christmas stories:

Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family’s only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.

As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.

Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, “This is for you, Daddy!”

As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.

But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. “Don’t you know, young lady,” he said harshly, “when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside the package!”

The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: “Daddy, it’s not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full.”

The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends, and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold. (Author Unknown)

Today, let us thank God for giving us that certainty that we are loved. Despite our weaknesses, our sinfulness and shortcomings God will never give up on us – for we are loved unconditionally. That love should be enough a reason for us that we too become more loving of others. Let us love with the love of God.

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