Celebrant: As we approach the celebration of the birth of our Savior, let us turn our hearts and minds to the Father, with confidence in his generous love and mercy:
That the Church will faithfully proclaim the Word of God to every part of the world, we pray to the Lord…
That Government leaders will be responsive to the needs of their people, especially families with young children, we pray to the Lord…
That all who are pregnant and afraid may welcome the life within them, and draw strength from the angel Gabriel's words to Mary: Do not fear, we pray to the Lord...
That the poor, the lonely, and the neglected will experience God’s love during this joyful season through the kindness of others, we pray to the Lord…
That all who are busy making preparations to celebrate Christmas will take time to reflect on God’s love for them, we pray to the Lord…
For those who have died, that as they shared our Christmas joy on earth, they may come to enjoy eternal glory in God’s kingdom, we pray to the Lord…
prepare our hearts with your grace,
that like Mary, we may be a worthy dwelling place for your Son.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
"By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human being" (Vatican II, GS 22). This saving event reveals to humanity not only the boundless love of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3:16), but also the incomparable value of every human person. The Church, faithfully contemplating the mystery of the Redemption, acknowledges this value with ever new wonder. She feels called to proclaim to the people of all times this "Gospel", the source of invincible hope and true joy for every period of history. The Gospel of God's love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel” (Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.2).
2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Watch a video with homily hints
Watch a video of Fr. Frank preaching on the Fourth Sunday of Advent
The readings of today, and the closeness of Christmas, thrust us into reflections on the Incarnation. Christmas is not only the Feast of Christ’s birth, but the celebration of the entire mystery of God taking on a human nature – beginning with the event narrated in today’s Gospel, whereby Christ was conceived within Mary’s body. The passage quoted above for today’s suggested bulletin insert can likewise be the basis of the homily. God redeems us by joining every aspect of our lives to his. God even becomes an unborn child. Human life was already sacred because it always was and is God’s creation, made freely from his love. But in the Incarnation it takes on an even deeper meaning and sanctity, because human nature is forever united with Divine Life. This affects all who share human nature, even the children still in the womb. That is why Evangelium Vitae can make the following two assertions:
“Life, especially human life, belongs only to God: for this reason whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God himself” (EV n. 9).
“By his Incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every person. It is precisely in the "flesh" of every person that Christ continues to reveal himself and to enter into fellowship with us, so that rejection of human life, in whatever form that rejection takes, is really a rejection of Christ” (EV n. 104).
The fact that Mary was not expecting to carry a child, and was troubled at the greeting, also leads us to reflect on the Providence of God. No unexpected pregnancy has ever affected history so profoundly, and no woman besides Mary is a better example to those who feel they cannot handle a pregnancy.