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Advent 4 Sunday A - Liturgy


1. Emmanuel: God With Us
2. A Child, Sign of Hope

Greeting (From the Second Reading)

To you all, who are God’s beloved
and called to be saints,
grace and peace from God our Father
and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 1:7) R/ And also with you.
Introduction

1. Emmanuel: God with Us

God is with us. God is among us. God is one of us in Jesus. God in human form is alive among us and he comes to make us really and fully human the way God intended and wants us to be fully and perfectly human. Here is Jesus, our model of deep humanity. We have only to look at him and to let him shape and form us by his Spirit. Then we will be fully and thoroughly the sons and daughters of our loving God. This is the beautiful message of today. Look at Jesus here among us. Let his Word and his Eucharist transform you, that we may become blood of his blood.

2. A Child, Sign of Hope

When parents, relatives and friends are expecting the birth of a child, they say that they are waiting for the “happy event.” The birth of a child is always a sign and a message of hope, for here is new life coming, here is a future. This is God’s sign to us too: here comes hope for us, there is a future, for God is with us in Jesus. It will be a happy event for us if we accept Jesus with joy and faith, like Joseph and Mary.

Penitential Act

Let us turn to God, who even in our weakness
will always be on the side of people.
Let us ask the Lord to forgive us.
(pause)
Lord Jesus, you are the promised Emmanuel,
Our God-with-us:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Jesus Christ, you are our Savior:
you come to save us from our sins:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you are one of us
fully human, to make us completely human
and sons and daughters of God:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.

Have mercy on us, Lord,
and pour out on us your forgiving love,
make us belong to you
and lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.

Opening Prayer

Let us pray to God
that we may give a warm place to his son
in our hearts and in our lives
(pause)
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
let your Son be reborn in us
as the source of our life and hope.
Let him lift us up from our sadness
and bring us his light.
Let him make us just and reliable
and people of peace.
Let him come to all nations,
to every home and in every heart,
that together with him
we may give glory to you,
our God in the highest,
now and for ever. R/ Amen.

Intercessions

Our saving God hears the cries of his people. Let us entrust to him all our longings and all the people dear to us and to him. Let us say: R/ Come and visit your people.
– For a deeper faith in God’s Son who became man to bring light for all those who seek, let us pray: R/ Come and visit your people.
– For peace and reconciliation in the world at large and in our own little worlds, let us pray: R/ Come and visit your people.
– For more respect and attention for concrete people in need and for greater concern for those who suffer, let us pray: R/ Come and visit your people.
– For light and wisdom for the leaders of nations, that all may have a fair share in the gifts of God’s creation, let us pray: R/ Come and visit your people.
– For parents who expect a child, that they may shelter the new life with warmth and affection and pass on God’s love, let us pray: R/ Come and visit your people.
– And for ourselves in our Christian communities, that we may be gentle to one another as God is good and gentle to us, let us pray: R/ Come and visit your people.
Our saving God, give us your Son. In him all our expectations will be fulfilled, now and for ever. R/ Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts

God our Father,
in these humble signs of bread and wine
you give us your Son Jesus Christ
as our God-with-us today.
Give us enough faith
to welcome him also in people in need
and to hear his constant call
in the events of everyday life,
that he may stay with us
now and for ever. R/ Amen.

Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer

With joy we give thanks to the Father that he wanted to become our God-with-us in his Son Jesus Christ.

Invitation to the Lord’s Prayer

Through Jesus, our God-with-us,
let us pray with the fullest trust
to our Father in heaven: R/ Our Father…

Deliver Us

Deliver us Lord, from every evil,
particularly from our self-satisfied pride
which closes us to you and your gifts.
Give us the simple receptivity
of children and of the humble,
that you may live among us
and fill our long waiting with the presence
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom…

Invitation to Communion

This is Jesus, the Son of God
and the Son of Mary,
our Savior and our Lord.
Happy are we to receive him
as our God-with-us. R/ Lord, I am not worthy…

Prayer after Communion

God our Father,
you chose to come among your people
in the weakness and humility of a child
through your Son Jesus Christ.
You have given him to us here
as our God-with-us.
Let him put us to shame
when we boast of our achievements
or place all our trust in our own resources.
Teach us that your Son himself
is the source of our power
and that we and the world can become fresh and new
through Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

Blessing

In a few days—if all this has not yet begun—
there will be the light
of Christmas trees and stars
and the giving of gifts
to friends and relatives.
Let these get their meaning
in the light of God’s greatest light
and God’s greatest gift to us:
his own Son Jesus Christ
as our God with us.
In his goodness, may God bless you all:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.

Go in peace and let Jesus the Lord live among you.
R/ Thanks be to God.

Commentary

Signs are very important. In the same way we understand language, signs can sometimes provide powerful messages and sometimes they communicate even more than words do. A person in love waits for a sign of love of his or her beloved. A son whose parent is ill seeks signs to give him hopes of life. A man walking through the desert keeps his eyes open for signs of water or life. Give me a sign, we tell God many times.
here are people who see signs of God in things that are not really such signs; in other words, they might see a sign in something that is clearly the opposite of what God may want. We seek signs, symbols, lights to show us where to go or where we are heading; and sometimes this search may even become an escape from the need to make a decision. I expect God to give me a sign about what I should do with my life and, since I don’t see any, I don’t do what deep in my heart I feel should be done.
Perhaps what I should see is that the sign is precisely the thirst or desire of the heart, the inclination to doing something in the service of others.
Today the readings tell us that the sign, the only sign that will show all our paths is the coming of Jesus into the world. The Son of God becomes a man. That should be enough to show us all the ways leading to Jesus; because, if his life was one of self-giving to God and fulfilling of God’s will, our life should be the same; if his life was one of generous service, such should be ours; if his life was one of forgiveness and healing, so should ours. We don’t need any more signs: Jesus, who comes into the world, is our way, truth and life.

Points to Ponder

Where do I usually look for guidance in my journey of life?
Do I sometimes engage enthusiastically in something to later discover that my happiness is not there and it is not God’s will for me?
Where can I find signs to help me see the way that I must follow?