Last Updated  19-Dec-2009 9:01 PM


December 20th 2009 Fourth Sunday of Advent
Vol.15 No.51

First Reading Ref: Micah 5:1-4
A reading from the prophet Micah

Again today we hear from a Prophet that doesn't feature very often in the Sunday readings, this is the only reading from Micah. He announces to the besieged inhabitants of Jerusalem that a messiah or king will come from Bethlehem and he will being them peace.

The Lord says this: You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah,
out of you will be born for me the one who is to rule over Israel; his origin goes back to the distant past, to the days of old. The Lord is therefore going to abandon them till the time when she who is to give birth gives birth. Then the remnant of his brothers will come back to the sons of Israel. He will stand and feed his flock
with the power of the Lord, with the majesty of the name of his God. They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power to the ends of the land.
He himself will be peace.

This is the word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm

This has become for us a very appropriate Advent prayer. Like ancient Israel waiting for the coming of the Messiah, we await the celebration of Christ coming at Christmas.

(R) God of hosts, bring us back; Let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
shine forth from your cherubim throne.
O Lord, rouse up your might,
O Lord, come to our help. (R)
God of hosts, turn again, we implore,
look down from heaven and see.
Visit this vine and protect it, the vine your right hand has planted. (R)

May your hand be on the man you have chosen,
the man you have given your strength.
And we shall never forsake you again;
give us life that we may call upon your name. (R)

Second Reading Ref: Hebrews 10:5-10
A reading from the letter to the Hebrews

We are reminded in this reading that Christ's coming, His becoming man was to offer himself in sacrifice in order to save us. Bethlehem was the prelude to Calvary.

This is what Christ said, on coming into the world:
You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation, prepared a body for me.
You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin; then I said, just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,
'God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.'
Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

This is the word of the Lord.

Gospel Ref: Luke 1:39-44
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

Mary's miraculous conception of Jesus marks the birth of one who is to perform a unique role in the history of salvation. Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth hints at the 'specialness' of the child she has conceived.

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'
This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Visitation of the Sick for Christmas: Fr. Donovan will visit the sick and housebound on Wednesday next, December 23rd at the usual times.

Anniversaries: Nora Lucey, Upper Bellmount
Mary Lucey, Upper Bellmount
Joe Mullane, Crossmahon
May Hartnett, Clomacow
Gillian Madden Curraclough

Died Recently: Tim Kelleher, Dooniskey

Penitential Services in neighbouring Parishes:
Sunday Dec. 20th at 7.00 p.m. in Ovens.
Monday Dec. 21st at 8.00 p.m. in the Church of St. Mary &St. John, Ballincollig.
Tuesday Dec. 22nd at 8.00 p.m. in the Parish Church, Macroom.

Luke 1:39-44
1. The greeting of Elizabeth to Mary 'Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb' is a joyful welcome of the child to come. Bringing new life into the world through pregnancy and birth is one of the most awesome human experiences. How have you experienced this for yourself or in someone close to you?
2. The image of the pregnant Mary going a distance to visit her cousin is a symbol of willingness to look beyond one's own needs to the needs of others. When have you witnessed that kind of generosity in others, or have you been able to act in this way yourself?
3. Mary is praised for her faith, because she believed the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled. In what ways have you experienced blessings from your faith and trust in God's promises?
Ref: Intercom magazine

Questions people ask
Q. Why was 25 December chosen for the birthday of Jesus?
A. The conception of Jesus at the Annunciation to Mary, nine months earlier, was an older celebration than his birthday. 25 March was a very important date, regarded as the first day of creation and the day of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Thus the conception of Jesus was linked with creation and the cross. Another reason for choosing 25 December was that this date was decreed by the Emperor Aurelian as a feast for the return of the Unconquered Sun after the mid-winter solstice. Christians put their own spin on the feast by celebrating the coming of Christ, the light of the world.
Ref: Intercom magazine


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