Today’s the 4th Sunday of Advent.
Find the Mass Readings here: 4th Sunday of Advent, December 24, 2017.
#MyMassTakeaway: Fawn Looks Fabulous. . *Swipe* Meanwhile, I look like a wreck. . I woke to my alarm ringing in one ear and my 4yo's incessant coughing in the other. It's the fourth night in a row I've been kept up, caring for sick kids. So I opted for an extra half hour of sleep instead of doing my hair and makeup. When I finally rolled out of bed, I regretted it. I felt underprepared for Mass. Underdressed. Something was clearly missing. . I'm feeling the same about this Fourth Week of Advent. It begins and ends today. I knew all along I'd have exactly this much time to prepare for Jesus' coming. But I didn't get up early. I didn't put in the extra time for prayer. My Jesse Tree is only half decorated. I'm underprepared. Something's missing. . But the good news is, at least I didn't miss the grand event. We made it to Mass – sick, tired kids and all. And we'll make it to Christmas too. Even though this Advent was short and I'm woefully, regrettably underprepared, Jesus still comes. He came to me in Holy Communion this morning. And He'll come again in our lives and hearts on Christmas day. . I can't imagine anyone was fully prepared for His first coming either. Well, maybe Mary. But I'm sure it was quite a shock for the rest of the world! Christ was not what they expected. They did their best for thousands of years to get ready for the Messiah, and then He came and they – put Him to death? They didn't even recognize Him. . Christ isn't going to wait around for us. And He isn't going to place Himself into the box of our expectations – no matter how well or how lousy we prepared. He's going to come with a Surprise! and a Silent Night! and a Hosannah! and a… Manger? Okay. . So today, I have no choice but to accept my unpreparedness. And open my heart to the surprises Christ will place into my life on Christmas. Bring it on, Jesus. And give me the grace to recognize You when You come. That, as ill-prepared as I am, I can accept You with open arms. And rather than crucifying You, may I place You on the throne as King of my Life. . Amen.
Thoughts from my blogging friends:
I loved today's homily and it reminded me of something really cool! Deacon Jim, in his homily mentioned that our houses are probably all set for Christmas, decorated and nice smelling, we are all set from the outside! This month is packed with activities and things to do but the bulk of things to do is actually on the inside, the preparation for the coming of Christ. It happens every year, as He is born into our lives – nothing makes sense otherwise, the decorations …preparations, gifts. He BREAKS into our existence because he wants to dwell with us, to dwell in our hearts. This is what reminded me of Mircea Eliade's thoughts on the Manifestation of the Sacred – that is like a break in the monotony/homogeneity of the profane space, it comes almost like a disturbance, forceful sometimes…. just like the quote of Archbishop Fulton Sheen:"Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them." #myMasstakeaway #homily #sermon #eliade #mirceaEliade #sacred #manifestationofSacred #Jesus #christmas #prep #heartprep #drawclosertoGod #loveGod #loveJesus #joy #rejoice #art #ingridBlixt #Emmanuel
Pride has been a companion of mine for as long as I can remember. I don't like asking for help, I don't like getting it, and when it turns out I really needed it, i don't like admitting I was wrong. Enter this past week, where I not only spent the majority of it in bed with a cold that became a sinus infection, but also woke up Wednesday morning with a raging case of Pink Eye. Did I mention I also hate wearing my glasses, and that I am rather vain? So here I am, on the other side of it all, honoring the shortest fourth week of Advent on record. Seven hours left to reflect and prepare for the birth of Jesus. Seven hours left until the beginning of the Christmas season, when the Savior of Mankind entered the world as a tiny, helpless, baby. >>>The Savior of the Mankind entered the world as a tiny baby.<<< In a stable. In a manger. In a foreign land, where his earthly parents had to rely on the kindness of strangers and God's providence for safety, security, and warmth. Seven days of humility. Seven hours of prep. One birth. One resounding yes that changed the world – forever. For nothing – not even my own growth in humility – is impossible with God.
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Today’s Gospel reading hit me right in the heart, and I don’t think there was a better way to end the Advent season. The past three weeks have NOT gone according to my plan… I feel like I more or less failed at Advent because I did not do a single thing I had planned to do to prepare my heart for Baby Jesus. Overwhelmed by broken appliances, unexpected expenses, canceled plans, missing family time- it seemed impossible to get anything accomplished. I was reminded, though, by Mary’s “yes” to God, that nothing is impossible with the Lord. He often has bigger and better plans for us… and if we have the patience and the courage to accept His Will for our lives (even if it seems like chaos in the moment), we, too, can be servants of the Lord. Mama Mary, pray for me as I open up my heart for your son. ❤️ #mymasstakeaway #fourthweekofadvent #advent #mamamary #handmaidofthelord
We welcomed a new member into the church last night! Now I know what everyone was gushing about with that "sweet chrism on the baby" smell ☺❤👶 In the readings today I was struck by how many times God said "I will do this" or "I was the one who did that" (particularly in the first reading, but it was a theme all the way through). It was a reminder to me that as much as I think I do these good things for God, it's not really *all* me but God moving and acting through me. Thank God for that grace! And may I be ever cooperative with it. #mysundaybest #mymasstakeaway
#MyMassTakeAway Fourth Sunday of Advent This is the shortest fourth Sunday of Advent possible. Perfect for the impatient! Today, I am contemplating what Mary and Elizabeth had in common. "The Almighty, choose the unlikely to do the impossible.": What has God asked you to do that seems impossible? Today, let us say with Mary, "Let it be done to me according to your word."
THE FULLNESS OF GRACE When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, he addressed her in a way that is pivotally significant to who she is (to God, Jesus, and us). Gabriel actually called her name kaire, kekaritomene -or “Hail, full of grace” (Lk 1:28-30). This means that God’s heavenly messenger was praising (hailing) her. For this reason, Mary “was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be” (Lk 1:29). kaire, kekaritomene – this title was used to address a person of honor (used mockingly in Jn 19:3 “Hail, King of the Jews”). At Gabriel’s word, through the authority of God, Mary’s name was changed to ‘Full of Grace’, just as Saray’s name was changed to Sarah (Gen 17:15). We know throughout Biblical history, that whenever God changes a name there is great significance… https://thelionofdesign.com/blog/advent-reflections-4th-sunday/
Merry Christmas! God never says no to a prayer (I side eyed this too during the homily, but hear it out). God answers every prayer with either a “Yes”, “Not now”, or “Here’s something better.” We have been house hunting through this Advent season. We found a house we thought was perfect and our offer was accepted. But then the inspection turned up issues that put it out of our price range and we had to walk away. Yesterday we found another house that fits us even better than the first. Even if it doesn’t work out, it gives me hope that good things are out there. #mymasstakeaway #merrychristmas
I want to know your Mass Takeaway too! Comment with your thoughts on the readings, your pastor’s homily, or anything that struck you during your time at Mass.