Gospel and readings 20.12.2020

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Lectionary: 11

When King David was settled in his palace,
and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
he said to Nathan the prophet,
“Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!”
Nathan answered the king,
“Go, do whatever you have in mind,
for the LORD is with you.”
But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?’“

“‘It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”

Responsorial Psalm

R. (2a) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The promises of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2

Brothers and sisters:
To him who can strengthen you,
according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages
but now manifested through the prophetic writings and,
according to the command of the eternal God,
made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith,
to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
be glory forever and ever.
Amen.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“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.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

 

REFLECTION

Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38a (Year B)

What does it mean to be a “handmaid of the Lord?” The word “handmaid” means “servant.” And Mary identifies herself as a servant.  Specifically, a servant of the Lord. Throughout history, some “handmaids” were slaves without any rights whatsoever. They were property of their owners and were required to do what they were told. In other times and cultures, a handmaid was a servant more by choice, enjoying certain rights. However, all handmaids are inferiors serving a superior.

Our Blessed Mother, however, is a brand new type of handmaid. Why? Because the one she was called to serve was the Most Holy Trinity. She was certainly an inferior serving one who is superior. But when the one you perfectly serve has perfect love for you, and directs you in ways that edify you, elevate your dignity, and transform you in holiness, then it is wise beyond description to not only serve this superior but to freely become a slave, lowering yourself as deeply as possible before such a superior. There should be no hesitation in this depth of servitude!

Our Blessed Mother’s servitude, therefore, is new in that it is the most radical form of servitude, but it is also freely chosen. And the reciprocal effect upon her from the Most Holy Trinity was to direct all her thoughts and actions, all her passions and desires and every single part of her life to glory, fulfillment and holiness of life.

We must learn from the wisdom and actions of our Blessed Mother. She submitted her life completely to the Most Holy Trinity, not only for her own good but also to set an example for each one of us. Our deepest and daily prayer must become that of hers: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Following her example will not only deeply unite us with our Triune God, but it will also have a similar effect upon us by making us instruments of the Savior of the World. We will become His “mother” in the sense that we will bring Jesus into our world for others. What a glorious calling we have been given to imitate this most holy Mother of God.

Reflect, today, upon your call to pray this prayer of our Blessed Mother. Reflect upon the words, consider the meaning of this prayer, and strive to make it your own prayer today and every day. Imitate her, and you will begin to more fully share in her glorious life of grace.

Dearest Mother Mary, pray for me that I may imitate your perfect “Yes” to the Most Holy Trinity. May your prayer become my prayer, and may the effects of your surrender as a handmaid of the Lord also affect my life profoundly. Lord, Jesus, may Your perfect will, in union with the will of the Father and the Holy Spirit, be done in my life today and always. Jesus, I trust in You.

From Catholic Daily reflections.com