4th Sunday of Advent (A)

December 18, 2022

INTRODUCTIONHOMILIESPAPAL HOMILIESCOMMENTARYECUMENICAL RESOURCESVIDEO ARCHIVEHOMILY STARTERSFAITH SHARINGCHILDRENMUSIC

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Agape Bible Study

Mass Readings Explained

Hearers of the Word

The Word Proclaimed Institute

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Integral Faith

WORD SUNDAY

courtesy of Larry Broding

GOSPEL

Mt 1:18

“before they lived together” is literally “before they came together.” Mary was promised to Joseph in an arranged marriage (i.e., betrothal), but he had not taken her into his home (the actual marriage ritual). Hence, “came together” meant cohabitation, not sexual intercourse.
“with child” is literally “in (the) womb.”

Mt 1:19

“righteous” can refer to moral character (“righteous man”) or religious observance (“righteous Jew”). If Joseph was a “righteous man,” he had pity on Mary and wished to spare her public humiliation. If he was a “righteous Jew” and followed the Law, he was bound by religious duty to end the relationship. Either meaning is possible; both meaning infer compassion on Mary.
“divorce her in private” did not mean he ended the betrothal quietly. Keeping Mary’s condition secret in a small community dominated by clans would have been impossible. It meant that he would not press charges of adultery against Mary. Thus, he wished to spare her the official title of adulterer and its outcast status.

Mt 1:21

This passage combined a Greek translation of Isaiah 7:14 (‘she will bear a son’ from the Septuagint) and Psalm 130:8 (‘he will save his people Israel from their sins’). The latter part of the sentence (‘he will save…’) explained his name. Ancient people believed a name revealed the character and inner power of the person. The angel commanded Joseph to name the boy ‘Jesus’ because of his function in God’s plan.
When Matthew stated Jesus would “save his people from their sins,” he did not imply Christ would stop people from sinning. Salvation meant the restoration of God’s relationship with humanity. With the birth of Jesus, God was with his people.

Mt 1:23

This verse has two parts: 1) Matthew’s adaptation of Isaiah 7:14 and 2) a clause that explains the name “Emmanuel.” Matthew quoted Isaiah 7:14 from the Septuagint. But he made one change. “you will call him…” became “they will call him…” The change shifted the focus from name (“you” being the father who named the child) to reputation (“they” being the people who would react to Jesus).
The term “virgin” had a broader meaning in the time of Jesus than a female who had never had intercourse. A virgin was simply a young girl of marrying age.
Used with Permission

ST. PAUL CENTER FOR BIBLICAL THEOLOGY

4th Sunday of Advent (A)

DR. SCOTT HAHN
AGAPE BIBLE STUDY

4th Sunday of Advent (A)

MICHAL E. HUNT
INTRODUCTION

The Virgin Birth of the Davidic Messiah

God first promised the coming of the Messiah-Redeemer at the darkest moment at the beginning of salvation history.  He offered the hope of humanity’s redemption after our original parents, Adam and Eve, were deprived of the grace of perfect fellowship with their divine Father and Creator.  God both cursed the serpent, Satan, who orchestrated the fall of humanity (Rev 12:9) and gave the hope of humankind’s future redemption (Gen 3:15).  The Lord foretold that one day a man, born from the “seed of the woman,” would come to undo the work of Satan.  He would come as God’s Redeemer-Messiah to restore humanity to the perfection of grace in a covenant fellowship with the Lord God (1 Jn 3:8).

God moved forward that divine plan in the 10th century BC when He made an eternal covenant with His servant, King David.  God promised David that his throne and his kingdom would last forever (2 Sam 7:16; 23:5; 2 Chr 13:5; Sir 45:25; Sir 47:11/13).  Down through the centuries, He repeated this promise through the prophets that the Redeemer-Messiah would come from David’s lineage to rule an eternal kingdom (i.e., Is 11:1-5; Jer 23:5-6; Ez 34:23-24; Zec 3, 8; 6:12).

SOURCE: Agape Bible Study – Michal Elizabeth Hunt (Used with permission)
FIRST READING COMMENTARY

The Prophecy of the Virgin Birth of the King of Glory

Our First Reading is from the book of the 8th century BC Prophet Isaiah.  Isaiah told Davidic descendant King Ahaz that one day, a virgin would give birth to a son called “God-with-us” (Is 7:14).  It was a prophecy repeated by St. Matthew, in our Gospel Reading, who applied the prophecy to Davidic descendant Mary of Nazareth and her son, Jesus (Mt 1:22-23).  The Virgin Mary submitted to God’s will and His plan for humanity’s salvation.  Her obedience of faith triumphed over the virgin Eve’s sin of disobedience that first doomed humankind and closed the doors of Heaven (CCC 5351026).

SOURCE: Agape Bible Study – Michal Elizabeth Hunt (Used with permission)
RESPONSORIAL PSALM COMMENTARY

Waiting for the King of Glory

The Responsorial Psalm honors the invisible Divine King (Yahweh), present in the people’s liturgy of worship at the Jerusalem Temple.  It recalls a celebration that should be a reminder to us that, in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, our Divine King (Jesus) is also invisibly present.  We confess our sins and offer our lives as a holy sacrifice with our gifts of bread and wine.  Our material gifts are then miraculously transformed into the reality of Christ’s Body and Blood.  We “enter in” to this mystery as we approach the altar in the summit of the Mass.  Then, the promise of our eternal blessings and the salvation of our souls becomes a reality.  In the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, the “God-is-with-us” who came to us through the obedience of the Virgin Mary, who “takes away the sins of the world,” our lives become united to His in the Eucharist.

SOURCE: Agape Bible Study – Michal Elizabeth Hunt (Used with permission)
SECOND READING COMMENTARY

Jesus is the Promised King of Glory

In our Second Reading, St. Paul tells us that Jesus is the promised “King of Glory” previously promised by God through his prophets in the holy Scriptures” (Rom 1:2-4).  Paul writes that this is the “good news” of the gift of salvation (Is 49:9; 52:7; 61:1).  Jesus has made this gift possible through His precious blood in His sacrificial death and His glorious Resurrection.  It is the message of salvation Jesus instructed His Apostles to preach to the world: the “good news” of the Kingdom of Heaven and the gift of eternal salvation through God the Son (Mt 28:19-20; Acts 1:6-8).

SOURCE: Agape Bible Study – Michal Elizabeth Hunt (Used with permission)
GOSPEL COMMENTARY

Jesus is the Promised Emmanuel of Isaiah’s Prophecy

In our Gospel reading, St. Matthew uses Jesus’ royal title “Christos/Messiah” a fourth time (see 1:1, 16, 17, 18). There can be no doubt for the reader that Matthew is presenting Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Davidic Messiah, as supported by Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 1:1-17). St. Matthew begins the story of Jesus’ birth with Joseph of Nazareth, who was betrothed to Mary when he discovered she was pregnant. An angel appears to Joseph in a dream and assures him it is God’s plan for him to take Mary as his wife and raise the child who is the Divine Messiah: the “Emmanuel” born from a virgin promised by the prophet Isaiah (Is 7:14). The angel defines the Messiah’s mission as spiritual and not political, saying Joseph must name the child “Jesus” (Yahshua in Hebrew/Yehoshua in Aramaic = Yahweh is salvation) because he will save his people from their sins (Mt 1:22).

Joseph would have recalled that the Biblical hero from the Old Testament who bore the same name was Joshua (Yahshua). He was Moses’ successor and the man ordained by God to lead the children of Israel across the divide of the Jordan River to begin the conquest of the Promised Land of Canaan. The spiritual mission of the child Joseph would raise and protect would be similar to that of the first Joshua. Jesus’ mission will be to bring salvation to humanity, leading redeemed men and women across the great divide between life and death and into the Promised Land of Heaven.

SOURCE: Agape Bible Study – Michal Elizabeth Hunt (Used with permission)
MASS READINGS EXPLAINED

4th Sunday of Advent (A)

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DR. BRANT PITRE
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HEARERS OF THE WORD

4th Sunday of Advent (A)

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PORTABLE COMMENTARY

DR. KIERAN J. O’MAHONY

Look, the Virgin shall Conceive and Bear a Son, and They shall Name Him Emmanuel

SOURCE: Dr. Kieran J. O’Mahony, OSA
THE WORD PROCLAIMED INSTITUTE

4th Sunday of Advent (A)

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FR. FRANCIS MARTIN, S.S.D

Commentary on the First Reading, Psalm, and Gospel

SOURCE: the WORD PROCLAIMED INSTITUTE
WORKING WITH THE WORD

4th Sunday of Advent (A)

Focusing the Gospel

The birth of Jesus Christ came about, through the Holy Spirit, God is with us

Connecting the Gospel

Mystery abounds when we are willing to relinquish control and open ourselves to the unexpected.

SOURCE: The Sunday Website at Saint Louis University.

To dig deeper and look more closely at this Sunday’s readings, visit the links at right from the Sunday Website at Saint Louis University.

INTEGRAL FAITH

4th Sunday of Advent (A)

LAUDATO SI’ CONNECTION

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel

SOURCE: Catholic Climate Covenant and the Association of Unites States Catholic Priests

 

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