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Thursday, fourth week of Advent, 2010, St. John Kanty, O Emmanuel

December 23, 2010

Blessed St. John Kanty’s Day!

You can find his story here.

O Emmanuel,
God-with-us,
Our King and Lawgiver,
The Awaited one of the peoples
And their Savior
Come to save us, O Lord, our God

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel. (see also Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 32:1, Psalm 72, Matthew 1:22, Luke 1:71-75)

Symbols: manger, chalice and Host, crown with tablets
Suggested foods: bread & wine, “baby foods” (mashed potatoes, ice cream, pudding, applesauce), mince pie (used to be baked in the shape of a manger), hash browns, toasted coconut or shredded carrots to represent “straw”, Baby Jesus bread buns, “Babe in the manger” dessert, baked potatoes stuffed with little sausages (to represent Jesus in the manger).  If you feel a little funny about “eating” Baby Jesus, remember that we do precisely that when we receive Him in Holy Communion.  Let that be food for thought about why He hides Himself under the appearance of Bread and Wine.
Suggested activities : pray a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament (God with us), set up nativity (or move Mary & Joseph closer to the stable), decorate the table with a manger/stable theme, coloring page

Father, we contemplate the birth of Your Son.
He was born of the Virgin Mary and came to live among us.
May we receive forgiveness and mercy
through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer from today’s Mass)

Readings:
Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24 (God will send His messenger to prepare the way for the Messiah)
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14 “Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand”
+ Luke 1:57-66 (the birth and naming of St. John the Baptist)

God does not want us to be caught by surprise.
His messenger has just arrived!
The King is right behind him!

And what a messenger he is!

What will this child be?
Was not the hand of the Lord upon him?
-Luke 1:66

This is the one prophesied in the last words of the Old Testament,
the words with which God left us before He spoke the Word into our history.

Lo, I will send you Elijah the prophet,
Before the day of the Lord comes,
the great and terrible day
-Malachi 3:23

This is the one who came like the refiner’s fire, or the fuller’s lye,
to burn away the impurities and scrub away the stains,
who came preaching

Reform your lives! The reign of God is at hand!
-Matthew 3:2

That’s not just rhetoric.
He expects us to change!

If we only have our own comfort in mind, we’ll react rather badly to that.

I assure you that Elijah has already come,
but they did not recognize him and did as they pleased with him…
The disciples realized that He had been speaking to them
about John the Baptist.
-Matthew 18:12,13

They “shot the messenger.”
And once you shoot the messenger,
you’ve set yourself up to do the same when his Sovereign appears.

If, however, we come upon this experience with the end in view
of being made worthy to stand joyfully before our coming King,
we’ll welcome it!

Your ways, O Lord, make known to me;
teach me Your paths,
Guide me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are God my savior
-Psalm 25:4-5

This is the welcome that brought Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives to rejoice with her,
the welcome that loosed Zachariah’s tongue to proclaim God praises!

What about us?
The messenger’s here.
The King’s arrival is imminent.
What last impurities and stains need to go?

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