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Fourth Sunday of Advent: The Throne of David

December 18, 2011

Blessed Sunday!

Today we get to celebrate the Golden Mass!
Once celebrated on Advent’s Ember Wednesday,
it now only comes around every third year,
on the fourth Sunday of Advent, Cycle B.

This Mass celebrates the golden mystery of our faith:
the Incarnation,
when Heaven was first wedded to earth
in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In medieval times, the first letters of this Mass were written in gold
–sometimes the entire Mass–
and golden vestments were worn.

This ancient liturgy was also the origin of the Angelus,
the prayer of the Annunciation prayed morning, noon and night:

The Angelus
V: The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary
R: And she conceived by the Holy Spirit
Hail Mary…

V: Behold the handmaid of the Lord
R: Be it done unto me according to Thy word
Hail Mary…

V: And the Word became flesh
R: And dwelt among us
Hail Mary…

V: Pray for us, O holy Mother of God
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee O Lord, thy grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ thy Son
was made known by the message of an angel
may, by His Passion and Cross,
come to share in the glory of His resurrection.
Through this same Christ, our Lord. Amen.
(Note the similarity with the opening Prayer from Mass)

Come, let us worship!

Today’s Antiphon:
O Lord of Lords
And Leader of the house of Israel
Who appeared to Moses in the bush’s flaming fire,
And gave to him the Law of Sinai
Come stretch out Your mighty hand to set us free

Revelation 17:14:
They will fight against the Lamb but the Lamb will conquer them,
for He is the Lord of Lords

(see also Isaiah 11:4-5, 33:22, Genesis 3, Exodus 3, Exodus 19-20, Deuteronomy 10:17,
I Timothy 6:16, Psalm 136:3, Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:6)

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.
(Opening prayer from Mass)

Readings:
II Samuel 7:1-5, 8-11, 16 (God will establish David’s kingdom forever)
Psalm 89 “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord”
Romans 16:25-27 (Jesus is the mystery hidden for many ages, but now revealed to us)
+ Luke 1:26-38 (the Annunciation)

Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before Me;
your throne shall stand firm forever
-II Samuel 7:16

There’s only one way God could fulfill that promise to King David.
God had to inherit David’s throne Himself.

How do they claim that the Messiah is the Son of David?
For David himself in the Book of Psalms says:
The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool.’
Now if David calls him ‘lord,’
how can he be his son?
-Luke 20:41-43

How indeed–except by God becoming man, born of the house of David?!

That’s exactly what happened.

The Holy Spirit will come upon you [Mary],
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
-Luke 1:35

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.
-Luke 1:32-33

God has become Man.
He has inherited the throne of David.
His Kingdom will have no end.

This is the mystery kept secret for long ages
but now manifested through the prophetic writings
and, according to the command of the eternal God,
made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith (Romans 16:25-26).

This is the inexhaustible truth whose depths we will never fully plumb,
no matter how deeply we mine them for divine treasure;
the truth God has now revealed to all nations
that we might take our rightful place within His holy Kingdom
and be saved.

How does one do that?
When crowds asked St. Peter that very question on the day of Pentecost, he replied,

Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the Name of Jesus Christ
for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
-Acts 3:38

Baptism brought them into the community of the Church,
God’s holy Kingdom,
where

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles
and to the communal life,
to the breaking of the bread
and to the prayers.
-Acts 3:42

As Baptized Catholics we devote ourselves to these same things today
via the four pillars of the Catechism:
1) The Profession of Faith (the teaching of the Apostles),
2) The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
(the Sacraments, chief of which is “the breaking of the bread,” a.k.a. the Mass),
3) Life in Christ (the communal life, which is by necessity the moral life)
4) Christian Prayer

Just as the Incarnation itself was only made possible
by the collaboration between God and man…

Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to Thy word
-Luke 1:38

…so our life within Jesus’ Kingdom
is only made possible by our collaboration with the King
through those He’s left in charge until He returns in glory.

you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church…
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.
-Matthew 16:18-19

Whoever listens to you listens to Me.
-Luke 10:16

May our response humbly echo the Virgin of the Angelus…

Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to Thy word

…that the Word may become Flesh in our lives as well
in the Kingdom that has no end.

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