Fourth Sunday of Advent

“He shall take his place as shepherd by the strength of the LORD, by the majestic name of the LORD, his God; And they shall dwell securely, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth.” (Micah 5:3.)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“But now, the same star which led the magi to the place where the infant God was to be found with his virgin mother could of course have led them right to the very city. But it withdrew, and didn’t appear at all to them again, until the Jews themselves had been questioned about the city where Christ was to be born. This was to oblige them to name it themselves, on the evidence of divine Scriptures, and to say themselves, “In Bethlehem of Judah. For so it is written, ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are not the least among the princes of Judah; for from you shall come forth the leader who will rule my people Israel.’” What else can divine Providence have meant by this, but that among the Jews would remain only the divine Scriptures by which the nations would be instructed, they themselves being blind? This evidence they would carry about with them not as an assistance to their own salvation but as evidence of ours. Because today it may happen that when we bring forward prophecies about Christ, uttered long before and now made clear by the events that have fulfilled them, the pagans whom we wish to gain will say that they weren’t foretold so long ago but have been composed by us after the event, so that what has later occurred may be thought to have been previously prophesied. Then we can cite the volumes owned by the Jews, to clear the doubts of the pagans, who were already prefigured in those magi, whom the Jews instructed from the divine books about the city in which Christ was born, without themselves either seeking or acknowledging him.” (Sermon 200)

A reflection on today’s Gospel appears here.

Pour forth, we beseech You, O Lord,
Your grace into our hearts,
that we,
to whom the Incarnation of Christ Your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may by His Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of His Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen