The Word This Week

“Listen! You are to conceive and bear a Son”

The Visitation (c. 1517) by Raphael, Museo del Prado

Its only in this last week before Christmas that we begin to hear about the Christmas story itself. For the past weeks we have been preparing ourselves to greet the Lord, when he comes. Now we prepare to remember how he first came, by listening to the prophecies of his coming, and by hearing of the events before his birth. We meet the woman, Mary, who herself had been prepared for the coming of the Messiah. She has received the angels greeting, and his strange news, and has accepted her role in Gods plan. Now she hurries to her kinswoman, Elizabeth, who herself bears John the Baptist in her womb. John, just as we heard last week, alerts us to the presence of the Lord, as he leaps for joy in his mothers womb. His joy is that God has kept his promise, and is with his people

Today’s Scripture (Psalter: Week 4)

Micah 5: 1–4
Out of you will be born the one who is to rule over Israel.

Response: Psalm 79
O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
shine forth from your cherubim throne.
O Lord, rouse up your might,
O Lord, come to our help.

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.

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.

Hebrews 10: 5 – 10
Here I am! I am coming to obey your will.
Acclamation for the Gospel:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
I am the handmaid of the Lord:
Let what you have said be done to me. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Luke 1: 39 – 44

Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord!

Prayer of the Fathful

R/. Oh Lord, come to our help

The Word This Week

Throughout the first three weeks of Advent our focus is very clearly on the Second Coming of the Lord – not so much on the run up to Christmas (until the last week). If we view Advent as a preparation for Christmas these readings will make little sense – and neither will the figure of John the Baptist who appears today: if it’s about the preparation for Christmas, then John the Baptist, preaching after Jesus was born, is a confusing figure: but his role is to preach to us, as he did of old, and to prepare us for the (second) coming of the Lord. Today we have a very graphic reference to the end of time and the Second Coming in the reading from Saint Peter; it is a frightening picture, and so the first reading offers tender words of comfort to help us understand who is coming, and why we should be ready to meet him.

Today’s Scripture (Psalter: Week 2)

Baruch 5: 1–9
God means to show your splendour to every nation.
Response: Psalm 125
When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,
it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
on our lips there were songs.

The heathens themselves said, ‘What marvels
the Lord worked for them!’
What marvels the Lord worked for us!
Indeed we were glad.

Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage
as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap.

They go out, they go out, full of tears
carrying seed for the sowing:
They come back, they come back, full of song,
carrying their sheaves.

Philippians 1: 3 – 6, 8 – 11
Be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.
Acclamation for the Gospel:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight,
and all mankind shall see the salvation of God.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Luke 3:1–6
All mankind shall see the salvation of God.

Read Today’s Readings on Catholic Online.