This pregnant women represents the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, the theme for the gospel for the 4th Sunday of Advent Year C

About the 4th Sunday of Advent Year C

Sunday December 22, 2024

The readings for the 4th Sunday of Advent Year C focus on hospitality, history, and family. In the first reading we learn that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. The psalm begs “Rouse your power, and come to save us.” In the second reading we hear that what God really desires is for us to do his will. In the gospel, Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth and Elizabeth recognizes that Mary is carrying the anointed one.

Mary’s visitation to her cousin Elizabeth was in a certain sense the first Eucharistic procession in history.

Pope Benedict XVI

The Season of Advent is meant for us to stop and ask ourselves how to prepare for Christmas. We are so busy with all the preparations, with gifts and things that pass. But let us ask ourselves what we should do for Jesus and for others!

Pope Francis

Daily Mass Readings for the 4th Sunday of Advent Year C

  • First ReadingMicah 5:1-4A: “Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne, and the rest of his kindred shall return to the children of Israel.”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 80: “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”
  • Second ReadingHebrews 10:5-10: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight. Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, behold, I come to do your will, O God.’”
  • GospelLuke 3:10-18: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’”

Themes for the Gospel

  • Welcome and hospitality
  • Recognizing Jesus
  • Evangelization
  • Family bonds
  • Small events in a larger context
  • God’s will
  • Our Blessed Mother

See the bottom of this post for some expanded themes.

Resources

Lesson Plan on Evangelization

This Blessed Bearer lesson plan focuses on how we must bring Christ to others, just as Mary did when she visited Elizabeth.

Blanket Carry Relay Game

This game can be tied in with Mary carrying Our Lord to her cousin Elizabeth.

The Hail Mary Prayer

The middle part of this prayer echoes Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary.

A Prayer Based on Psalm 80

This prayer to restore our world is based on Psalm 80, which is the responsorial psalm for the Fourth Sunday in Advent Year C.

Pray the O Antiphons

The “O Antiphons” are part of the evening prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours for December 17 to December 23. In them, Old Testament imagery is used to proclaim the coming of the Christ child.

Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation

If you haven’t gone to confession during the Advent season, then do it this week. Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a beautiful way to prepare our hearts for Christmas.

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Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. - Luke 1:42

Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

Homilies and Reflections

The Most Powerful Woman in the World

We can be great in God’s eyes by humbly doing His will.

The Light Is Increasing

We can let the Light of Christ grow within us and be born into the world – or not. Like Mary, we have a choice.

Carrying Christ

Like Mary visiting Elizabeth, we must step out into the world and carry Christ to others.

The first act of charity we can do for our neighbour is to offer a serene and smiling face. It is to bring them the joy of Jesus, as Mary did with Elizabeth.

Pope Francis

More Themes

The Visitation, which is the focus of today’s Gospel, expresses joy at the recognition of Jesus. We must always be looking for signs of God’s presence in our lives. We can see Him in everyday moments if we just open ourselves to the possibility.

Elizabeth’s recognition of John’s movement in her womb has a prophetic element. It would have been easy for her to dismiss this moment as just some more baby kicking. But she sees something bigger and recognizes that the redemption of the world is close at hand. She sees this as a moment of grace.

Christ arrives at the nativity. But he also comes into our daily lives. If we can only see Jesus in the baby in the manger, then we will miss so many moments of grace. If we cannot experience Christ in our interactions with each other, will we be ready to encounter Him at the end of time? We must ready ourselves for these daily encounters through prayer and the sacraments.

It is also interesting to note that the Gospel of Luke contains many beautiful prayers such as the Magnificat. It also gives us the basis for the first part of the Hail Mary. The Magnificat (Canticle of Mary), which immediately follows today’s Gospel, is an expression of praise which is prayed during the Evening prayer. From December 17 to 23, one of the O Antiphons is prayed immediately before the Canticle of Mary.

Reflection Questions

  • Where have I recognized Christ during this past week?
  • Do these encounters evoke a sense of joy?
  • Am I preparing spiritually for Christmas?
  • How can I bring Jesus to others as Mary did?

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