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Advent: December 20 - Liturgy


Friday December 20, 2019

THE VIRGIN MOTHER

Introduction

The two beautiful texts of today correspond to each other as promise and fulfillment of the promise. The child to be born of a young maiden as a sign of Israel’s salvation probably spoke directly of a son to be born to a king; yet, in later tradition and particularly in the Christian understanding, the text came to be understood as a messianic prophecy, which was fulfilled in Mary and the child born from her.
Also noteworthy is the spirit of the fulfillment. The incarnation of Christ was the beginning of a real turning upside down of values, for example: salvation comes to the poor and humble, expresses itself in obedience and humble service, God’s power and majesty shows itself in his unostentatious approach to people, God becomes near in people, even death becomes a way to life.

Opening Prayer

God of the poor and the humble,
we thank you today for choosing Mary
as the Virgin Mother of Jesus, your Son.
Her faith and willing service
opened the way to your new world.
Dispose us to seek your will
and to cooperate with your plans,
that we, too, like Mary,
may give to the world its Savior,
Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord.

Intercessions

– Lord our God, make us aware of our poverty, that you may fill it with your riches, we pray:
– Lord, that like Mary we may accept and deeply believe in your word and live by it, we pray:
– Lord, let your Spirit awaken in us great aspirations of goodness and service, that we may bring people closer to Christ, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts

God of mercy and love,
by the power of the Holy Spirit
your Son became man
and was born of the Virgin Mary.
By the power of this same Spirit,
let your Son come among us
in these signs of bread and wine
and gather us together in love,
that we may become to the world today
the presence and the message
of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Prayer after Communion

Lord, mighty God,
you spoke your word to the Virgin Mary
and she accepted it readily in faith;
you committed your Son to her
and she gave him to all humankind.
May the Good News you have spoken to us,
stir our hearts to share it with all
as a liberating message
and may the bread of life we have eaten
make us free for the life you give us
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Blessing

God keeps his promises. He is trustworthy and loving. Do we too keep our promises? May we become reliable and worthy of trust, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Commentary

“Ask a sign.” King Ahaz in the eighth century BC is seriously troubled by the threat from the Assyrian Empire. The prophet exhorts him to ask for a sign of deliverance. He refuses. Nevertheless, a sign is given. The future birth of a special child will be a clear indication of God’s presence, as the child’s name itself will indicate. He will be Immanuel or “God with us.”
We have no clear indication of who this child promised to Ahaz was. It may well have been his own son, Hezekiah. But this was a prophecy that proved to have a life of its own. There was another time of deliverance that loomed on the horizon, and it came to rest on a humble house in Nazareth and a young girl with a heart open to God. Not only will the child she bears be the expected descendant of David but also the Son of God. It would be a case of “God with us” in a most singular and exceptional way. God himself was to walk the earthly journey, our companion in life, the One who would give his life for our salvation.
Ahaz refused to ask for a sign, but Mary does not hesitate to ask the meaning of the sign to be given her. It is a secret long hidden in the heart of God. The child to be born of Mary was to have God as father. Son of Mary and Son of God. But the consent of the young girl is required. What will it be?
A leap of faith into the unknown. Her response is a clear expression of the obedience of faith. Puzzling it undoubtedly was, but it is God who asks.
It so often happens in life. There are uncertainty, doubt, fear, and hesitation in the face of the seemingly impossible. It is obedience to which we are called time after time. Yet there is only one answer: Be it done to me according to your word.

Points to Ponder

The obedience of faith “God is with us”
Reading the signs of the times
Faith and doubt.