Home  |  About Us  |  Contacts  |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 (202) 541-3250


 This material
 may not
 be published,
 rewritten or
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Dec. 19, 2010

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service

December 19, Fourth Sunday of Advent

Cycle A Readings:

1) Isaiah 7:10-14

Psalm 24:1-6

2) Romans 1:1-7

Gospel: Matthew 1:18-24

The theme of obedience to the revealed will of God runs through the Scriptures for this weekend, as we await with eagerness the birth of the Lord Jesus. In the first reading, God convincingly tells Ahaz to seek a sign from him. Instead, Ahaz replies, "I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!"

In response, the prophet Isaiah challenges his lack of sincerity, saying that God will bypass this king and give God's people a sign: "The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel."

In the second reading, Paul speaks of Jesus, through whose "resurrection from the dead" he has "received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith."

Then in the Matthew reading, an angel appears to tell Joseph that Mary is pregnant with Jesus, "through the Holy Spirit," fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy of the birth of "Emmanuel, which means 'God is with us.'"

God commands our obedience in many ways, most notably through Scripture and the teachings of the church. Much turmoil in life can be avoided if we form our consciences by following God's word revealed in these two sources.

But God also speaks directly to our hearts. My wife reported to me that several times in recent weeks, a Scripture popped up on her smart phone, just as she was experiencing great anger, even though she had done nothing to cause the phone to tap into the daily Scripture application she uses.

I had a similar experience during a time of temptation some years ago when a Scripture from 1 Corinthians 10 popped up in the search engine on my computer, un-entered and un-copied from any other source.

My wife and I have both believed we have heard from God through our thoughts or Scriptures as we have read the Bible, but I cite these two little technological instances just to show God's versatility.

Such personal revelations, however, cannot be in conflict with the teachings of the church or Scripture. Then they would simply be end runs around what God desires as the perfect Christmas gift: our hearts of love and obedience to his Son, our Savior, the child whose birth we seek.


When have you had to rely on your knowledge of Scripture to "make the right choice"? What spiritual reading can you do to help properly form your conscience and provide a source of strength in times of stress and temptation?


"When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home" (Matthew 1:24).


Copyright © 2009 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS Word To Life column may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service.

Questions about this Web site. Send to cns@catholicnews.com.
Copyright © 2010 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250