Celebrant: God's word tells us to patiently await all the good things that the Savior brings. With confidence, we make our needs known to Him.
That the Church may teach the world the patience it needs to await the coming of the Lord of justice, peace, and life, we pray to the Lord...
That world leaders may prepare the way for the coming of the Lord by fostering harmony, authentic dialogue, and sincere concern for their people, we pray to the Lord...
That through the prayers of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of all America, our land may be protected and blessed, we pray to the Lord...
That the joy of the Lord's coming may strengthen all pregnant mothers to welcome and nurture the new life God has entrusted to them, we pray to the Lord…
For those who are impaired by blindness, deafness, or other infirmities, that the promise of Christ's coming may give them strength and joy, we pray to the Lord...
That all who have died may experience the renewed life brought by the coming of the Savior, we pray to the Lord...
Father, as you hear our prayers,give us patienceand lead us to the joyof eternal salvation.We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Advent and Pregnancy
As we enter the second half of Advent, the liturgy focuses more specifically on the Incarnation and birth of Jesus at the first Christmas. We think about Mary's initial fear and uncertainty in the face of her unexpected pregnancy. Then, in every Church in the world, believers spiritually rush to her side to eagerly await with her the birth of the Savior.
The best way for a parish to celebrate Christmas is to rush physically to the side of those in the community who, like Mary, are uncertain and afraid about their pregnancy. We are to accompany them through their pregnancy with support and encouragement, and help them experience the fact that every birth reflects the joy of the birth of Christ.
Nationwide, pregnancy centers providing alternatives to abortion can be reached through the “Option Line,” 1-800-712-HELP, or at www.pregnancycenters.org.
Is 35:1-6a, 10James 5:7-10Mt 11:2-11
The themes of joy, hope and a steady heart flow from the message of today’s readings that the coming of the Lord is close at hand. The Church wants the natural joy that comes with the approach of Christmas to be illumined and lifted up by the spiritual joy that comes with the approach of Christ.
This spiritual joy is rooted in hope and leads to a steadiness of heart expressed in all three of today’s readings. Isaiah declares, “Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak; say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God – he comes…” James says, “Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.” In the Gospel, Jesus points out that John had a steady heart. “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?”
Steadiness of heart is what is needed as we adhere to the hope of the Gospel amidst a culture of death. The reason for this hope and steadiness is what the psalm today declares: “The Lord…secures justice for the oppressed…The Lord sets captives free.” These themes, of course, are what Jesus identified as the core of his mission when he quoted Isaiah in his first sermon (see Luke 4). He comes, in other words, to save us, and to accomplish through us, the flowering of justice in the world for all human beings whose rights – starting with the most fundamental right, life itself – are denied and trampled.
When we have a “steady heart,” we are able to face evil without minimizing it, and at the same time see that God is stronger than the evil, and will work through us to conquer it.
Because of this hope, a steady heart does not resort to immoral means to achieve good ends. A steady heart keeps everything in perspective, does not lose patience, and is able to work hard each day to bring into the world the fruit of the Spirit, and to help others do the same.