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Friday, fourth week of Advent: Time for Purification

December 23, 2011

Blessed St. John of Kanty’s Day!

You can find his story here.

Here’s the final O Antiphon:
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 Matthew 1:22)

Almighty ever-living God,
as we see how the Nativity of Your Son
according to the flesh draws near,
we pray that to us, Your unworthy servants,
mercy may flow from Your Word,
who chose to become flesh of the Virgin Mary
and establish among us His dwelling,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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)

The herald’s made his entrance!

Even as an infant he’s setting all the countryside astir.
They rejoice:

Elizabeth’s…neighbors and relatives…rejoiced with her
-Luke 1:58

They marvel:

[Zachariah] signaled for a writing tablet and wrote the words,
“His name is John.”
This astonished them all
-Luke 1:63

They fear:

Fear descended on all in the neighborhood;
throughout the hill country of Judea
-Luke 1:65

They ponder:

these happenings began to be recounted to the last detail…
What, then will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him
-Luke 1:65-66

This is not the time for “life as usual”!
There’s work to be done!

Gold and silver are tarnished, unfit for the King,
banners and robes, soiled and stained–
embarrassment before His Majesty’s all-pure gaze!

But our own efforts have been fruitless.
Scrub and polish as we might,
the stubborn spots remain.

God’s herald steps to our side,
refining fire ablaze,
launderer’s stain-removers in his hand.

He brings God’s power to bear where we have failed.

he will purify the sons of Levi,
refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by
-Malachi 3:3-4

The sons of Levi are the priests
and those set apart to serve God’s holy place (see Exodus 32:29, Numbers 18:1-6).
Through Baptism, we share in Christ’s universal priesthood
(see Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1591-1592).

God’s power purifies us.

The Church is the new Jerusalem
(see Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 757),
offering “due sacrifice to the Lord,” pleasing to the Lord:
the Holy Sacrifice of the MassChrist’s Mass.

Christmas.

Our purification comes through the Sacrament of Baptism
–a Baptism much more powerful than John’s (see Luke 3:16)–
and through the Sacrament of Confession.

As we pass through the flames, the bath,
once-tarnished gold and silver gleam.
Once-filthy rags, now brilliant white (see Isaiah 64:5, Revelation 19:8)
adorn God’s Bride.

This is the wedding day of the Lamb;
His Bride has made Herself ready
-Revelation 19:7

When you took on flesh, Lord Jesus,
you made a marriage of mankind with God.
-Monday, Evening Prayer, Week II

The herald’s at your service.
What’s stopping you?

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