First Sunday of Advent - November 28, 2010

Second Sunday of Advent - December 5th, 2010

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception - December 8th, 2010

4th Sunday of Advent - December 19th, 2010

3rd Sunday of Advent - December 12th, 2010

 

 

 

 

November 28, 2010 - First Sunday in Advent

Advent Readings:


Readings:
Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122:1-9
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:37-44 (see also “The Gospel of Fulfillment”)

 

 In a Dark Hour>>>>Listen

Jesus exaggerates in today’s Gospel when He claims not to know the day or the hour when He will come again.
He occasionally makes such overstatements to drive home a point we might otherwise miss (see Matthew 5:34; 23:9; Luke 14:26).
His point here is that the exact “hour” is not important. What is crucial is that we not postpone our repentance, that we be ready for Him - spiritually and morally - when He comes. For He will surely come, He tells us - like a thief in the night, like the flood in the time of Noah.
In today’s Epistle, Paul too compares the present age to a time of advancing darkness and night.
Though we sit in the darkness, overshadowed by death, we have seen arise the great light of our Lord who has come into our midst (see Matthew 4:16; John 1:9; 8:12). He is the true light, the life of the world. And His light continues to shine in His Church, the new Jerusalem promised by Isaiah in today’s First Reading.
In the Church, all nations stream to the God of Jacob, to worship and seek wisdom in the House of David. From the Church goes forth His word of instruction, the light of the Lord - that all might walk in His paths toward that eternal day when night will be no more (see Revelation 22:5).
By our Baptism we have been made children of the light and day (see Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-7). It is time we start living like it - throwing off the fruitless works of darkness, the desires of the flesh, and walking by the light of His grace.
The hour is late as we begin a new Advent. Let us begin again in this Eucharist.
As we sing in today’s Psalm, let us go rejoicing to the House of the Lord. Let us give thanks to His name, keeping watch for His coming, knowing that our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
The Gospel of ‘Fulfillment’
With the First Sunday in Advent we begin a new “cycle” (Cycle A) of the Church’s Liturgical Year. Sunday by Sunday for the next year we’ll be reading the Gospel of Matthew.
Matthew’s Gospel is a prime example of what St. Augustine was talking about when he said: the New Testament is concealed in the Old and the Old Testament is revealed in the New.
You can’t read Matthew without having your ear tuned to the Old Testament. He quotes or alludes to the Old Testament an average of four or five times per chapter - or more than 100 times in his Gospel.
Matthew writes this way because he wants his fellow Israelites to see that their Old Covenant with God has been “fulfilled” in Jesus. Get used to words like “fulfill” and “fulfillment” - you’re going to hear them repeatedly in Matthew’s gospel.
On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, for instance, Matthew explains how Mary is found with child: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Behold the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel” (see Matthew 1:22-23).
Again, on Palm Sunday, when He is arrested in the garden, Jesus says: “All this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled” (see Matthew 26:54,56).
The numerous “fulfillments” Matthew tells us about are intended to signal one thing - that in Jesus, God is finally delivering on the promises He made throughout salvation history.

Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn © 2010 St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

© 2010 St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

 

 

 

 

 

 


http://www.salvationhistory.com/images/main/blank.gif
December 5th, 2010 - Second Sunday in Advent

Advent Readings:

December 5th, 2010

Readings:
Isaiah 11:1-10 
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
Romans 15:4-9 
Matthew 3:1-12

Listen to the Readings>>>>



 Kingdom Come Listen>>>>


“The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” John proclaims. And the Liturgy today paints us a vivid portrait of our new king and the shape of the kingdom He has come to bring.
The Lord whom John prepares the way for in today’s Gospel is the righteous king prophesied in today’s First Reading and Psalm. He is the king’s son, the son of David - a shoot from the root of Jesse, David’s father (see Ruth 4:17).
He will be the Messiah, anointed with the Holy Spirit (see 2 Samuel 23:1; 1 Kings 1:39; Psalm 2:2), endowed with the seven gifts of the Spirit - wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.
He will rule with justice, saving the poor from the ruthless and wicked. His rule will be not only over Israel - but will extend from sea to sea, to the ends of the earth. He will be a light, a signal to all nations. And they will seek Him and pay Him homage.
In Him, all the tribes of the earth will find blessing. The covenant promise to Abraham (see Genesis 12:3), renewed in God’s oath to David (see Psalm 89:4,28), will be fulfilled in His dynasty. And His name will be blessed forever.
In Christ, God confirms His oath to Israel’s patriarchs, Paul tells us in today’s Epistle. But no longer are God’s promises reserved solely for the children of Abraham. The Gentiles, too, will glorify God for His mercy. Once strangers, in Christ they will be included in “the covenants of promise” (see Ephesians 2:12).
John delivers this same message in the Gospel. Once God’s chosen people were hewn from the rock of Abraham (see Isaiah 51:1-2). Now, God will raise up living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5) - children of Abraham born not of flesh and blood but of the Spirit.
This is the meaning of the fiery baptism He brings - making us royal heirs of the kingdom of heaven, the Church.

 

Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn © 2010 St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

© 2010 St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 8th, 2009 - Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Advent Readings:

Readings:
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Psalm 98:1-4
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
Luke 1:26-38

Listen to the Readings>>>>

 

The Angel and Mary

In the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, the angel Gabriel greets Mary in an unusual way: “Hail, favored one” (see Luke 1:28).
Kecharitomene, the Greek word translated as “favored one,” is very rare, used in only one other place in the New Testament. It comes from charis, the Greek word for “grace” and basically means “made full of grace” or “transformed by grace.”
This is how the word is used in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where he describes how God “granted” His grace to all of us in Jesus (see Ephesians 1:6-7). This sheds light on what the angel means - Mary has been “transformed by God’s grace.”
Notice that the angel doesn’t mention Mary’s name. That’s odd, too. There’s no other angelic greeting like this in Scripture. It’s as if Mary’s name is “favored one” or “made full of grace.”
In Scripture, when God gives a person a new name, it reveals the person’s role in His saving plan. Think of Abraham - the father of all nations (see Genesis 17:5), or Peter, the Church’s “rock” (see Matthew 16:18). Mary is God’s favored one, transformed by God’s grace to be the sinless mother of His only-begotten Son.
That’s why the angel’s greeting is one of the biblical foundations for Mary’s Immaculate Conception, which we celebrate December 8. Listen closely to the Mass readings that day - you’ll hear the angel’s greeting, and Paul’s beautiful words about God’s transforming grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 12, 2010 - Third Sunday of Advent

Advent Readings:

Here is Your God

Isaiah 35:1-6,10 
Psalm 146:6-10
James 5:7-10 
Matthew 11:2-11

Here is Your God>>>>Listen

John questions Jesus from prison in today’s Gospel - for his disciples’ sake and for ours.
He knows that Jesus is doing “the works of the Messiah,” foretold in today’s First Reading and Psalm. But John wants his disciples - and us - to know that the Judge is at the gate, that in Jesus our God has come to save us.
The Liturgy of Advent takes us out into the desert to see and hear the marvelous works and words of God - the lame leaping like a stag, the dead raised, the good news preached to the poor (see Isaiah 29:18-20; 61:1-2).
The Liturgy does this to give us courage, to strengthen our feeble hands and make firm our weak knees. Our hearts can easily become frightened and weighed down by the hardships we face. We can lose patience in our sufferings as we await the coming of the Lord.
As James advises in today’s Epistle, we should take as our example the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Jesus also points us to a prophet - holding up John as a model. John knew that life was more than food, the body more than clothing. He sought the kingdom of God first, confident that God would provide (see Matthew 6:25-34). John did not complain. He did not lose faith. Even in chains in his prison cell, he was still sending his disciples - and us - to our Savior.
We come to Him again now in the Eucharist. Already He has caused the desert to bloom, the burning sands to become springs of living water. He has opened our ears to hear the words of the sacred book, freed our tongue to fill the air with songs of thanksgiving (see Isaiah 30:18).
Once bowed down, captives to sin and death, we have been ransomed and returned to His Kingdom, crowned with everlasting joy. Raised up we now stand before His altar to meet the One who is to come: “Here is your God.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 19, 2010 - Forth Sunday of Advent

Advent Readings:

God Is With Us

Isaiah 7:10-14 
Psalm 24:1-6
Romans 1:1-7 
Matthew 1:18-24

God Is With Us>>>>Listen

The mystery kept secret for long ages, promised through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, is today revealed (see Romans 16:25-26).
This is the “Gospel of God” that Paul celebrates in today’s Epistle - the good news that “God is with us” in Jesus Christ. The sign promised to the House of David in today’s First Reading is given in today’s Gospel. In the virgin found with child, God himself has brought to Israel a savior from David’s royal line (see Acts 13:22-23).
Son of David according to the flesh, Jesus is the Son of God, born of the Spirit. He will be anointed with the Spirit (see Acts 10:38), and by the power of Spirit will be raised from the dead and established at God’s right hand in the heavens (see Acts 2:33-34; Ephesians 1:20-21).
He is the “King of Glory” we sing of in today’s Psalm. The earth in its fullness has been given to Him. And as God swore long ago to David, His Kingdom will have no end (see Psalm 89:4-5).
In Jesus Christ we have a new creation. Like the creation of the world, it is a work of the Spirit, a blessing from the Lord (see Genesis 1:2). In Him, we are saved from our sins, are called now “the beloved of God.”
All nations now are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to enter into the House of David and Kingdom of God, the Church. Together, through the obedience of faith, we have been made a new race - a royal people that seeks for the face of the God of Jacob.
He has made our hearts clean, made us worthy to enter His holy place, to stand in His presence and serve Him.
In the Eucharist, the everlasting covenant is renewed, the Advent promise of virgin with child - God with us - continues until the end of the age (see Matthew 28:20; Ezekiel 37:24-28).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn © 2009 St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology
  2009 St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology