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Reflections on the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (December 22, 2019): IS 7:10-14; PS 24:1-2,3-4,5-6; ROM 1:1-7; MT 1:18-24
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Through each of the readings on this last Sunday of the Advent season, we contemplate the identity of the Holy Child who is about to live among His people.
“The Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). This Old Testament quote has traditionally been recognized by Christians as a reference to the birth of the Messiah. In other words, He is the Christ as well as the Son of Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is truly the only begotten Son of God come to save all people from deadly consequences of our sin.
As we enter Christmastide, we dwell on the arrival of Jesus, a baby as precious and as vulnerable as any other. Later, through the Gospel readings of Ordinary Time and Lent, we will hear about His public ministry and the perfect sacrifice He makes of His life for us. But for now we think about Mary and Joseph and the Infant they strive to protect from harm and yet share with the world according to the will of the Father. Let us consider the name Emmanuel that in Hebrew means God with us. This describes His nature. He is the Son of the Eternal Father, sent to be one with us, to look after us. It sums up so much about our relationship with Him because God always was and always will be attentive to the welfare of His children. So it also makes complete sense that His personal name Jesus means Savior. And our Savior is the very God who is with us world without end. Amen.