24 Dec
4th Sunday of Advent (C)
Mic. 5:1-4
Ps. 80:2, 3, 15-16, 18-19
Heb. 10:5-10
Lk. 1:39-45
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     The whole of the infancy narrative seems to emphasise the very obscurity of the Word made flesh and, in the process, tells us something about where real greatness lies. Tomorrow night we will celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, "the least of the clans of Judah" and, outside the Bible, even the biggest of those clans counted for nothing in the world of the Roman dominions.

    From the very beginning Jesus' whole life is dedicated to carrying out His Father's will. "Here I am! I am coming to obey your will". And what is that will? It "was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ". All that we are commemorating these days is for our benefit.

    We might have expected that Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist would have been the one to visit Mary, who was carrying the Son of God, flesh of her flesh and bone of her bone. But it is the other way round. Even before His birth, Jesus gives an example of service and of not being served. It is just a tiny foretaste of His future life spent bringing healing and wholeness into people's lives and culminating in that final offering. "Not my will but yours be done". "Into your hands I surrender my spirit".

     We pray that like Mary we also may be filled with that Spirit of love and service.
Eternal Father, I offer You everything I do this day; my thoughts, words, joys and sufferings. Grant that, vivified by the Holy Spirit and united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, my life this day may be of service to You and to others. I also pray that all those preparing for marriage discover in Sacrament the source of Christ's grace for living a fithful and fruitful love. Amen.

That the celebration of the Jubilee may become the source of a new commitment in men and women of good will to protect and promote human life.

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P R A Y I N G    W I T H    T H E    C H U R C H    

INTENTION : That the celebration of the Jubilee may become the source of a new commitment in men and women of good will to protect and promote human life.

In the threshold of the year 2001, it is our duty to renew our commitment to safeguarding the dignity of the poor and marginalised and to recognise in a practical way the rights of those who have no rights. This is the spirit of the new millennium which presupposes the following: The basic right to life which is inviolable which involves a positive choice for life. The development of a culture of this kind embraces all the circumstances of life and ensures the promotion of human dignity in every situation.

Recent developments in the field of genetic engineering present a profoundly disquieting challenge. In order that scientific research in this area may be at the service of the person, it must be accompanied at every stage by careful ethical reflection, which will bring about adequate legal norms safeguarding the integrity of human life. Life can never be downgraded to the level of a thing.

To choose life involves rejecting every form of violence. In every circumstance, the right to life must be promoted and safeguarded with appropriate legal and political guarantees. Let us raise our voices on their behalf.

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