"Blessed are you among women"

This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Advent - the final Sunday before Christmas. With this Fourth Sunday, we change our focus. The past two Sundays have centered on the ascetic, somewhat fierce figure of John the Baptist. Today we focus on a young, gentle woman, who is about to give birth to a child. Her name is Mary.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions
Fourth Sunday of Advent, Dec. 23, 2012 (4AdvC)
From the
Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Readings
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
New American Bible
Prayer of the Hours
BQ: Do Catholics "worship" Mary?

Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.

First Reading
Micah 5:1-4a

1. With “embracing the majestic ruler” at one end of the continuum and “embracing poverty” at the other, where do you think the Church falls? Why? Where would you like to see it fall? Explain.

2. If you were expecting a majestic ruler how would you have felt about the stable and manger? When you experience poverty in your life, do you accept it as a meeting place with God or do you run from it?

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 80: 2-3, 15-16, 18-19

1. The Psalm says, 'Lord, make us turn to you ....' Have you noticed at times when we stray off His path how the Lord tugs at each of us so that we return to His ways. Give an example from your own experience.

2. Our psalmist is writing about the scattered people of Israel, but his words may apply to each of us in our separation from God. In what way are you inspired by the Psalm's verses to repent and seek renewal, especially during this season of Advent?

Second Reading
Hebrews 10:5-10

1. Why do you think this reading about the “offering of the body of Christ” was chosen for the fourth Sunday of Advent?

2. St. Paul said “by this ‘will’ we have been consecrated,” once for all. That means we have been made holy (by association with Christ), have been set aside. Why is Christ’s sacrifice infinitely effective?

Luke 1:39-45

1. The infant “leaped for joy” in his mother’s womb at the recognition of the savior. Discuss this moment as humankind’s welcome to the savior. How close do you come to “leaping for joy” when you recognize God’s presence in your life?

2. Where does Mary’s greatness lie in salvation history? For her part Elizabeth was given an insight when the babe in her womb leapt. How did Mary know about her own child? When the Holy Spirit gives you insights, do you always believe them and perhaps even act on them?

Sunday Bible Study Group
Please share your thoughts on these Sunday Readings. And please do use these questions for your own Bible study sessions with family and friends.

1 comment:

  1. Barry Lamont1:01 PM

    Psalm 80: 2-3, 15-16, 18-19

    This Psalm is a prayer to restore
    Israel, and by extension to restore us,
    as a scattered people of God.
    The Psalm is well adapted to our
    prayer during Advent. We are a people
    scattered and separated from God, and
    we await His coming; He alone can
    'make us turn to Him' and convert us.
    “Shepherd of Israel, lend an ear …
    come to save us.”

    Our psalmist makes a direct appeal
    to God to shepherd us. “Turn again
    Lord ... attend to this vine.” Just as
    the Lord tends to His vineyard, He
    protects a shoot planted by His right
    hand. The coming of Christ is intended
    to revive us, restore our strength.
    As the Psalm says, “Then we will not
    withdraw from you; revive us, and
    we will call on your name.”

    Where does our hope for revival
    come from? It comes from our savior,
    sent by the Lord, our cornerstone.
    In Him we are restored. “Lord of
    hosts restore us; let your face shine
    upon us, that we may be saved.”

    We all need to be renewed from
    time to time when our faith grows
    lukewarm, when our hearts harden
    due to the sins that separate us from
    God. We, like the Israelites, need
    to beg for God’s mercy, to petition
    the Lord and seek his peace, the peace
    that will guard our hearts and minds,
    and restore us as his people.