Fourth Sunday of Advent: LOVE
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Daily Advent Prayer
“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”
Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior.
Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord,
your grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may by his Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. *
Today’s Readings (Source: USCCB)
“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.”
On this last Sunday of Advent,
we quietly reflect on the mystery.
We rest in awe, in wonder,
at how our God entered our world and came to be with us.
We pause to receive the gift offered us:
that the Spirit of God will open up our lives and
that Jesus will really come into our hearts.
May we have watchful hope today,
believing what the Lord promises us.
Let us pray today, that we might be God’s servants,
that we might be instruments of God’s love
for our families and all we serve this week.
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Lord, make us turn to you;
let us see your face and be saved.
… from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
whose origin is from ancient times.
Pour forth your grace into our hearts.
Let your desires for us be done in our hearts.
Give us the grace to be your handmaids.
Come, Lord Jesus! Come!
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!
A Year of St Joseph
On December 8th, Pope Francis announced a Year of St Joseph, as an honor of the 150th anniversary of the saint’s proclamation as of the patron of Universal Church
This year we are celebrating the Feast of Christmas in an entirely different way. Perhaps now more than ever, we enter into this feast with a keen sense of our own poverty. We have all found ourselves in the middle of a pandemic that has altered our lives significantly: we cannot socialize or celebrate in the same way that we are accustomed because of restrictions and, in some cases, financial limitations. And, even more, we cannot all gather together in our parish church to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
In this spirit of poverty, I would like to draw your attention to a key figure in the Christmas story—the one who is most overlooked: the courageous and untiring St. Joseph. This humble man was entrusted with the privilege to care for Our Lady and Jesus, Who he loved very much, and he took this duty very seriously. Can you imagine, then, my brothers and sisters, the sense of utter helplessness that Joseph felt when he took very pregnant Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census? What pain as he watched Mary riding on a donkey for miles? And what must he thought when he was unable to find a room for the woman and child with who he was entrusted to protect? He must have experienced to some degree that everything was working against him. Like any man, he might have had hopes and dreams of welcoming the Son of God in a modest but readied room, and instead, God chose to arrive in a cold, damp shelter in the middle of the night. From a human point of view, we find ourselves like Joseph this Christmas: uncertain and helpless as the world around us closes its doors to us through “stay at home” orders, things change by the minute, and what we had hoped for unexpectedly changes.
And yet, my brothers and sisters, despite the great poverty of Joseph’s helplessness, Jesus came. Jesus came into the world and entrusted Himself not to a warm room, or a comfortable crib, or freshly laundered linens, but to Mary’s tenderness and Joseph’s protection. Jesus was entrusted to their arms and their hearts. God the Father knew this, and that is why, even in the midst of Joseph’s helplessness—and rather, precisely because of it—He took care of everything. In their deep material poverty, Joseph and Mary were rich because they had Everything that mattered, and they welcomed Jesus into their lives with completely open hearts. In this way, the coldness of the cave gave way to the warmth of the love of family.
And so, my brothers and sisters, as we enter into the Christmas season, let us thank God for the poverty in which we find ourselves, whether it be financial, psychological, spiritual, or material. For, it is precisely into this context that Christ came at Christmas and comes now into our hearts that are stripped of what is not essential. As Mary and Joseph remind us: the only thing that we really need to celebrate Christmas is a heart ready to receive the Lord. And if we have the faith to see this, then we also have hope and joy that, no matter what happens—no matter how bad things get or how helpless we feel—we are never alone.
Most sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. W. Artur Marat
Week 4 of Advent: Love
By Manny Fernandez – Latino Enrollment Institute
The Bible has a lot to say about the bonds of love and devotion. Many verses speak about the perfect love that everyone should have toward their friends, family, and mankind, not to mention the Lord.
Corinthians 16:14 says: “Do everything in love.”
And it sounds simple, right? But we all know it’s not. As educators, of course we love our students, but do we always show it? How about to the ones who don’t turn in their homework? Or the ones who misbehave and disrupt our lessons? Or the ones who bully other kids on the playground? Often, those are the children who need to see our love the most. Lord knows there were plenty of times where I struggled to push past my own frustrations with certain students who seemed to want anything but my love.
But we must remember that the child who misbehaves might be doing it because the last good meal he had was yesterday’s lunch. Or his father was thrown in jail the night before for domestic violence and he witnessed the entire episode, and the only way for him to cope is to act out in class, with a person he loves and knows he can count on—his teacher. That bully in your class might be getting bullied by his parents and older siblings, and that’s the only type of relationship he sees at home, and so, of course, he continues the cycle with his peers.
As we read the wonderful Bible stories throughout the Advent season, we’ll see that THOSE kids…they are the type of people who Jesus sought out, because He knew that they needed His love the most. You see, it’s easy to be kind to the child who comes to class prepared to learn every day and never gives you any problems.
But I challenge you to show extra love to the students in your classroom who push your buttons the most and make you wonder why you ever chose to become a teacher in the first place. In those transformative moments, those very students might show you that, in fact, THEY are the reasons you chose this amazing profession—to make a difference in the lives of the students who need it the most.
For just as Jesus showed so much love to the poor, the sick, and the marginalized, he asks you to do the same for all of your students and I know you will.
Happy Advent, Merry Christmas!
From USCCB: Festival of Lessons and Carols
The Festival of Lessons and Carols is a service of Scripture and song that dates to the late 19th century. In this service, we listen to nine Scripture lessons which recount the Fall, the promise of a Messiah, the Incarnation, and the Great Commission to preach the Good News. Each lesson is followed by a carol or other song that reflects on the lesson’s message and a brief prayer.
Prayer Through Music
Music can move the heart in many prayerful ways. Here are two beautiful music videos to warm your heart in this final week of Advent. Turn it up. Enjoy!
O come, O come, Emmanuel
Sharing a beautiful video from YouTube that, for many, represents where our hearts are now — in this fourth and final week of Advent — as we anxiously await the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In the spirit of this week, let’s make an extra effort to dial up the LOVE for those around us — especially those who are hurting or in need — so that we may welcome Christmas with open arms, and with glowing hearts.
Popular & Traditional Advent Hymns
And here is an excellent compilation of hymns played on a majestic pipe organ. Close your eyes and imagine being there. Feel Christ?
Thank you for taking this “Advent 2020” journey with us. We hope it brought joy to you, your families and your loved ones this Season. While we have been “social distance-challenged” this Advent Season, know that we were joined together — even if only virtually — on these digital pages.
We are a united parish family. When we join together in prayer — even from different locations — we are mighty, Holy force and, rest assured, God hears us.
Blessings on all as we close out this Advent Season. O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Our Lady of the Wayside, pray for us!
Fathers Arthur, Dan and Mark
Deacons Peter, Don, Tom, Paul (and Mike, from afar)
The OLW Parish Pastoral Council
The OLW Communications Team
The OLW Parish Staff