Sunday, December 19
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Roman Ordinary calendar
Book of Micah 5,1-4a.
The LORD says : You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel ; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.
(Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne, And the rest of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel.)
He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the LORD, in the majestic name of the LORD, his God; And they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth;
he shall be peace.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken.
from your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see:
take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
Letter to the Hebrews 10,5-10.
For this reason, when he came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;
holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight in.
Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, O God.'”
First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings, you neither desired nor delighted in.” These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.” He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this “will,” we have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1,39-45.
Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
Saint Ambrose (c.340-397)
Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church
Commentary on Saint Luke’s Gospel, (II, 19 f. ; SC 45)
“Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste”
It is usual for those who wish to be believed to give reasons for believing. That is why the angel (…) announced to the Virgin Mary that an aged and barren woman was to become mother, thus showing that God can do whatever he pleases. As soon as Mary learned of this, she set out for the hill country, not through lack of faith in the prophecy, nor by uncertainty in the face of this message, nor through doubt (…) but in the happiness of her desire to fulfil a religious duty and in the haste of her joy. Besides, filled with God, how could she not eagerly rise up to the heights? Slow considerations are foreign to the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Until then, Mary lived alone, withdrawn from the outside world: she was not held back by her modesty from setting out in public, nor by the mountain slopes from putting her plan into action, nor by the length of the way from the service she had to offer. This virgin hastens to the heights, a virgin who is only thinking of serving and forgets her own trouble. Charity is her strength (…); she leaves her house and sets out (…). You have learned of Mary’s sensitivity; learn too of her humility. The younger comes to the older (…), what is superior comes to what is inferior: Mary to Elizabeth, Christ to John just as, later on, our Lord will come to be baptized by John so as to consecrate baptism. And immediately the blessings of Mary’s arrival and the presence of the Lord are made known, for “as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child in her womb leaped for joy and she was filled with the Holy Spirit” (…). The two women speak of the grace done to them; the two children fulfil this grace and lead their mothers into this mystery of mercy.