Home  |  About Us  |  Contacts  |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Vatican
 Origins
 Africa
 Headlines
 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 ...
 Facebook
 Twitter
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Vatican
 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:
 cns@
 catholicnews.com
 or
 (202) 541-3250

.
 Copyright

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 may not
 be published,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

.
  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, Dec. 22, 2013

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service


December 22, 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

Though I don't recall Pope Francis using the term "dream" or "prophecy" to describe what he has been asking of the church, his statements often have that feel to them. He speaks prophetically, minus the old King James language: "Thus saith the Lord."

Two of the readings for this weekend speak of dreams and prophecies. Isaiah speaks in apparent anger when Ahaz refuses to ask God for a sign. Then Isaiah announces the coming of the Lord given as a sign: "The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel."

In the Gospel, an angel appears to Joseph in a dream, telling him to not "be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. ... She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus." Then the angel tells Joseph that all this is "to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means 'God is with us.'"

Contrast this with Paul's introduction to his Letter to the Romans. It is a straightforward statement of who Paul is, but more importantly, who Jesus is.

Most of what we know about the will of God for our lives comes in statements like this and in instructions about how we are to live. Such instructions come through sources as diverse as Micah's simple admonition to act justly and walk humbly with God and Jesus' teachings to put others first.

Pope Francis is asking all of us to be more active in reaching out to those who feel estranged from the church. He asks us to be mindful to the needs of the poor, and he doesn't mince words.

Personally, I know I can't do everything, but I also know that I can do something. Since I know that our God is a God who speaks to his people and expects their obedience, I'm determined to try to do the last thing I think God asked of me. He doesn't like for us to be inattentive.

QUESTION:

Is God asking you to reach out to others in invitation or charity?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel." -- Matthew 1:23

END



Copyright © 2012 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 © 2013 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250