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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Dec. 18, 2011

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

December 18, Fourth Sunday of Advent

Cycle B Readings:

1) 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16

Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29

2) Romans 16:25-27

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

Andy stood at the lectern practicing reading aloud the prayers of the faithful before Mass. His father stood at his side helping with a word here and there. Andy, 30, has several learning disabilities. Reading is no easy task. But as a young man steeped in his faith and very much a part of his church community, he was pleased to be invited to be a lector at Mass on this recent Sunday.

After his informal rehearsal, he appeared to be relaxed and ready. He walked to the back of the sanctuary and took his place with the other lay ministers waiting to start the processional.

Someone asked, "Are you all set?"

Andy flashed a smile. "Yes," he said, and then added, "but I might make a mistake." Still smiling, he said this with no trace of apprehension, but just as a matter of fact.

It may have seemed unlikely that a man who has difficulty reading could lead the assembly in public prayer.

"How can this be?" he might have asked.

But Andy fully trusted in his being chosen for his role.

In this weekend's readings for the last Sunday of Advent, two people chosen by God had questions about their crucial roles in his plan for humankind. David was picked to lead God's nation. Mary was called upon to bear the Son of the Most High into the world. Neither understood how it could possibly work out. But they trusted in the unfathomable power of God and gave themselves to his purpose.

As we prepare, this season, for Christ to enter our lives, the Scripture encourages us to have this same belief that we have found favor with him and to trust in his purpose and prepare well for the tasks, large and small, that he has for us.

Andy does. It was evident when his time came to read the prayers. His gentle, strong voice spoke out very slowly and with such care that everyone gathered, felt the full intention of each word prayed earnestly for all of us.


To what role, large or small, do you believe God is calling you at this time? Do you have doubts about it? How can you prepare for the task?


"Mary said, 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word'" (Luke 1:38).


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