About Today

Advent Wreath, Fourth Sunday By 3268zauber [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Fourth Sunday in the Season of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-24

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scriptures:

Today’s readings on this Fourth (and last) Sunday of Advent describe how God very dramatically and lovingly intervenes in human history when “there is no way out.”

In the first reading, God directly invites King Ahaz to ask for a sign that God would protect the southern kingdom of Judah from enemies that threaten to destroy it. Now, a wise leader would eagerly grasp at the opportunity. Not Ahaz, who in his pride has already decided on his own political solution! Isaiah decides to give him God’s sign anyway, saying, “The virgin shall conceive a child and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” Ahaz was not interested in God’s help. He foolishly trusted his own wisdom. As a result, the whole nation was defeated and sent into exile in Babylon.

The Gospel tells us of another man faced with a grave dilemma who did listen to God. Joseph, already bound by a solemn betrothal ceremony to take Mary as his wife, discovers to his dismay that she is with child. He can only suppose that she has been unfaithful to him, and is now subject to very severe laws that could result in her death if he exposes her. He takes the compassionate way out. He will divorce her quietly, exposing himself, not her, to shame. God intervenes through a dream in which an angel tells him the whole story. The angel tells Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, for her child has God Himself as the Father! With incredible trust and humility, Joseph obediently agrees to the plan. What a contrast between this just man and crafty Ahaz!

At Christmas, God is asking of us what He asked of Mary and Joseph–complete trust in His plans. He wants each of us to help Him save His world again! He richly rewards those who say “Yes!” and accept His plans for their lives. It’s even more incredible that Jesus the God-man, in turn, entrusted His life to Joseph and Mary. Again, God entrusts the success of His plans to those who can love enough and sacrifice their plans for His own.

Advent has been all about getting ready to agree to let Joseph and Mary use our hearts for a manger. From there, Jesus can help our poor country and our poor world to rebuild His kingdom. He needs our witness, our courage in speaking His truth, and sharing His love. He so wants us to be part of a much larger Advent, when all those prophecies we heard read in the last few weeks will be brought to fulfillment. If we can only give a simple, unqualified “yes” as Mary and Joseph did, some amazing things may happen through us in the world we live in.[1][2]

[1] Scripture for Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word
[2] Text of About today from The Journey a Catholic perspective of life’s journey

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Advent Wreath, Second Sunday By PHILIP János (e-mail from the author) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Second Sunday of Advent

“Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God. Put on the robe of the righteousness from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting.” (Bar 5: 1-2).[1]

Today we celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent. In today’s readings at Mass, we are reminded of two holy preparations; the preparation of the coming of Christ at Christmas and the preparation of the coming of our Lord on the last day. Both are highlighted in the second week, encouraging us to recognize the life that is to come. We are called to ‘stand upright’ in thoughts and deeds while we wait and as St. Paul suggests, have patient courage to live in harmony with one another. As we light today’s candle on the Advent wreath, may the love of the season fill our hearts, minds, and homes as we prepare the way. [2]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version s.v., “Baruch.”

[1] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany (Collegeville, MN: The Order of St. Benedict, Inc., 1977), 119-137.


The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Advent Wreath, First Sunday By Micha L. Rieser (Own work by uploader (wreath and picture)) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

First Sunday in the Season of Advent

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:37-44

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scriptures:

Today we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent and begin a new liturgical cycle, year A. This is a time of prayer and preparation — a time-out from hectic distractions, and a time-in for quiet nourishment from the beautiful Advent scriptures. It’s a time for inner activity of prayer, and outer works of generosity to our neighbor.

In the first reading from Isaiah, God invited the divided kingdom of Israel to climb the holy mountain to His house. There He will melt down their swords, and turn their hearts to thoughts of peace. What seemed to them an impossible dream actually came true seven hundred years later when Jesus was born. The kingdom was united, and peace ruled the whole world, Scripture tells us.

The message for us is clear. We must continually strive to work for a peaceful and just world, so that Christ may have room in all hearts. Peace starts in the hearts of believers.

The second reading from Paul to the Romans insists that we wake up, and throw off the works of darkness. If we follow Paul’s advice to walk in the light, then Advent is a time for sincere riddance of sinful ways and sluggish response to the teaching of Jesus and His Church.

In the Gospel, Jesus warns us that we must be prepared, for “at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” We wonder for how many people, this Christmas will be the last time they celebrate it on this earth. We need to take this Advent seriously, for the coming of the Lord will be not just a beautiful Christmas, but the actual day of judgment. As the inscription on an old sundial in an English garden says, “It’s later than you think!” With joy, let us climb the mountain of the Lord![1][2]

[1] Scripture for Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word
[2] Text of About today from the Catholic Calendar and Daily Meditation Archive

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Wednesday of Holy Week

“The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting,” (Isaiah 50:5-6).[1]

This ‘Servant Song’ from Isaiah anticipates the suffering of the Chosen One. We see a Servant who is beaten and insulted. However, despite the darkness, the Servant remains steadfast. This poem prepares us for the upcoming Passion and reminds us that despite suffering, God is always at our side. [2]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
[2] Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66 (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 119-125.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Liturgy of the Hours for December 08