Thoughts on the Readings for the 4th Sunday of Advent (B) 2014

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser 
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122114.cfm 

In our Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Advent we read the story of the visit of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.”   Mary did not reject the Angel Gabriel’s words or ask for more information. Instead she asked a very practical question.  “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”  In reply the Angel Gabriel said: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.   Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”    The confirming sign that God would make this happen is the pregnancy of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, who was thought to be barren.  Mary’s response was one of complete faith.  “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”    

As we approach the celebration of Christmas, our Gospel today reminds us that we are called to imitate Mary, to be open to God’s work in our lives and to make a home for Christ in our hearts.  

Our first reading this Sunday is from the second Book of Samuel.   King David “was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from his enemies.”    Since David was settled in his palace, he wanted to build a suitable place for the Ark of God.  God, though, had other ideas: “Should you build me a house to dwell in?”   God wanted to be clear that God was in charge and that it was by God’s doing that David’s kingdom would endure.  “I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,………………Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;  your throne shall stand firm forever."   

Our second reading this Sunday is the closing verses of the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.   In is a hymn of praise.   “To the only wise God, though Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever.   Amen."   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion: 

1.   Like Mary, have you ever felt that God was calling you to do something? 
2.   What do you need to do to make a home for Christ in your heart this Christmas?
3.   What causes you to give glory to God?

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