Gospel Reflection Dec 24 – Deacon Stephen Petrill
Sunday, December 24
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Luke 1: 26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
This weekend, the Church invites us to reflect on five Gospel passages that will be proclaimed across seven Masses on Sunday and Monday.
At 9 am and 11 am Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Advent, we begin with Luke 1:26-38; the Annunciation and Mary’s response of faith (presented above).
At 4 pm and 630 pm Sunday, we celebrate the Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord. We will hear Matthew 1:1-25; the genealogy of Jesus and St. Joseph’s response in faith to the Annunciation.
At 9 pm Sunday, we celebrate the Nativity of the Lord, Mass at night. Luke 2:1-14 recounts Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem, Jesus’ birth in a manger, and the angel’s appearance to the shepherds.
At 9 am Monday, Christmas Day, we hear Luke 2:15-20, where the shepherds journey to Bethlehem, meet the infant Jesus, and give glory to God.
Finally, at 11 am Monday, Christmas day, John 1:1-18 is proclaimed; reminding us that the infant who has just been born is the eternal Son of God who has come into the world so that we too might become children of God.
Why so many Gospel readings? Memory can often be adequately measured in years, seasons, months, and weeks. But the most important memories in life are measured in days and moments. What we are hearing in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are deeply personal events and encounters with God that left lasting impressions on Joseph and Mary; with eternal consequences for us. What we hear in the Gospel of John is the culmination of the Apostle’s experience and knowledge of Jesus Christ, the man born in a manger who at the same time, is the eternal son of God. May we reflect on these Gospels as we build moments in our own families in the coming Christmas season. Peace, blessings, and Merry Christmas to everyone!
Deacon Stephen Petrill