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Fourth Sunday of Advent : December 21, 2014

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 1: 26 – 38

Gospel reading

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.

Brief commentary

Since the second century Luke has been seen as the “beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14) who accompanied Paul from Troas to Philippi. Luke’s narrative of the birth of Jesus is very different from Matthew’s. Here the emphasis is on Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah, not on Joseph. The story does not mention the Magi. Instead, it includes the shepherds from the nearby fields, consistent with Luke’s interest in the poor and the marginalized from society. The particular focus of the announcement to Mary of the birth of Jesus is on Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.

When Mary objects that she has had no sexual relationships, the sign given to her in confirmation of the angel’s words is the pregnancy of her aged relative Elizabeth. If a woman past the childbearing age could become pregnant, why, the angel implies, should there be doubt about Mary's pregnancy, for “nothing is impossible for God.” The announcement to Mary of the birth of Jesus is parallel to the announcement to Zechariah of the birth of John. In both, the angel Gabriel appears to the parent who is troubled by the vision and then told by the angel not to fear. The particular focus of the announcement of the birth of Jesus is on his identity as Son of David and Son of God.

Today's reading offers three significant messages:

  • According to Luke, the virginal conception of Jesus took place through the Holy Spirit, the power of God.
  • Mary is blessed among women not because of something she has done but because of God’s choice of her for a special role in the plan of salvation.
  • Mary’s spiritual motherhood is shared by all those who make the same faithful response she did.

For our shared or personal reflection:

After a brief pause for silent reflection share your answers, ideas or feelings.

  • How open am I to God’s life within me? Even when God seems to ask the impossible?
  • What do the words, “Do not be afraid” say to me today? What fears do I need to surrender to God?

Suggested Readings:
Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 332; 484-494; 497; 697; 2617; 2677.

MEDITATION FOR THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

Amidst the sounds of Christmas the ringing of bells and the singing of carols- we recall that Christ was born at a moment when all things were in stillness. While our hearts are full of the sounds and the excitement of Christmas, help us to create in them small silent places for Christ to be born again in us.

May we learn the secret of Bethlehem that God chooses the small and simple, the quiet and hidden places for divine visitations. May we create a Bethlehem of stillness in our hurried lives lest there be no room in us for God to come this Christmas and stay.

The child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

— Luke 1:35

PRAYER FOR THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

How I wish that Advent would grow in you.
How I wish to be born anew in your city, in your Village,
in your street, in your house, in your heart.
Look, I am coming to you from eternity of eternities.
And I am looking only on you.

I, your God.
(Light the fourth candles)


2014 ARCHBISHOP'S CHARITY AND DEVELOPMENT DRIVE

Click on image above to view the video

Dear Parishioners, thank you once again for your pledge to the Archbishop’s Charities and Development Drive (ABCD 2014). We are in the final stage of the campaign, and we are grateful to those who have already pledged.

We encourage those who have not yet pledged, to please remember to do so. Thank you!

CHRISTMAS SCHEDULE 2014-2015

Christmas Eve Masses - Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Daily Mass : 8:00 am
Vigil Mass : 4:00 pm
Family Mass : 6:00 pm
Midnight Mass : 12:00 am
Christmas Day Masses - Thursday, December 25, 2014
English : 9:00 am, 11:00, am 6:00 pm
Spanish : 12:45 pm, 7:30 pm
New Year’s Eve Masses - Wednesday, December 31, 2014
English : 6:00 pm
Midnight Bilingual Mass : 12:00 am
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (Church) : 10:00 pm -12 am
Masses - Thursday, January 1, 2015
English : 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 6:00 pm
Spanish : 12:45 pm, 7:30 pm
ALTAR SOCIETY

The Altar Society will hold a second collection for the flowers to decorate the Church for Christmas on Sunday, December 21st, at all Masses, for the flowers to decorate the Church for Christmas.

MIGRANT CHILDREN’S GIFTS

For almost 31 years the generous parishioners of St. Agnes have been giving Christmas gifts to poor migrant children in Homestead.

The names of these pre-school children are placed in red bowls near the front and side door. You can read more information on the envelope with the name.

Please bring the gifts to the church by Friday, December 21st. Thank you.

PERPETUAL EUCHARISTIC ADORATION

Could you not watch one hour with me? Mt. 26:40

Can you commit to one of these hours?

Sunday: 12 Midnight, 11:00 am, and 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm
Monday: 12 Noon
Tuesday: 2:00 am
Thursday: 12 Midnight and 1:00 am
Friday: 5:00 pm and 11:00 pm
Saturday: 5:00 am, 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:00 pm, 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm

Please call: (305) 798-7896 for more information, Thank you!

SCHOOL NEWS


Applications for the 2015 - 16 school year are available online here, from December 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015. Tours of the school are available by appointment. If you would like to sign up for a tour, please call us at 305-361-3245 ext. 203.
The school will be closed for the Christmas Holiday from December 20, 2014 to January 4, 2015. Classes resume on Monday, January 5th. Have a peaceful and blessed Christmas and New Year!

Humor Corner

Christmas Present

It was the day after Christmas at a church in Miami. The Pastor of the Church was looking over the cradle when he noticed that the baby Jesus was missing from among the figures.

Immediately he turned and went outside and saw a little boy with a red wagon, and in the wagon was the figure of the little infant, Jesus.
So he walked up to the boy and said, “Well, where did you get Him, my fine friend?”

The little boy replied, “I got him from the church.”
“And why did you take him?”

The boy said,
‘Well, about a week before Christmas I prayed to the little Lord Jesus and I told him if he would bring me a red wagon for Christmas I would give him a ride around the block in it.”