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Advent: December 18th

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Other Titles: Day 2 O Antiphons, O Adonai (O Lord and Ruler)


December 18, 2022 (Readings on USCCB website)



Fourth Sunday of Advent: 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, God, for ever and ever.


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Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means "God is with us." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home (Mt 1:20-24).

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Today is the Second of the O Antiphons, O Adonai (O Almighty God/O Lord and Ruler). As Moses approached the burning bush, so we approach the divine Savior in the form of a child in the crib, or in the form of the consecrated host, and falling down we adore Him. "Put off the shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground . . . I am who am."

"Come with an outstretched arm to redeem us." This is the cry of the Church for the second coming of Christ on the last day. The return of the Savior brings us plentiful redemption.

For those following the Jesse Tree, you can either continue through Christmas Eve following Catholic Culture's Jesse Tree, or use symbols based on the “O” Antiphons (see Jesse Tree Instructions and O Antiphons).

     Jesse Tree, Day 22 ~ Daniel      Jesse Tree Overview

Sunday Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Cycle A:
The First Reading is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 7:10-14. In today's prophecy, Isaiah gives us the most important detail concerning the Messiah, Christ. He was to be God as well as man. This is what Christ was, as he claimed and as he proved by his miracles and by his resurrection. What a stunning, and at the same time, what an inspiring fact this knowledge is for us! We call the Incarnation, the coming of the Son of God among us in human nature, a mystery. It is one of the basic mysteries of our Christian religion, but the mystery lies not so much in how it was done ("with God all things are possible"), but rather in the infinite, mysterious love of God for us, who are so much below him and so unworthy of his love.

The Second Reading is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans 1:1-7. In today's reading, we have the opening verses of that Epistles. In it, he calls himself a servant of Christ, an Apostle, set apart (chosen) to preach the gospel of God. This gospel is the news of the Incarnation, through which and by which, all men are called to follow Christ, and become his brothers, and thus sons of God destined to be saints in heaven.

The Gospel of this Sunday, from the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-24 begins in a typical Hebrew fashion, by giving the genealogical table of Jesus, who was born of Mary. He does not mention the Annunciation, nor Mary's problem of preserving virginity while becoming a mother. But the revelation given to Joseph, Mary's betrothed, which Matthew here describes, brings out the fact of the virginal conception of Jesus, and his messianic mission of salvation. Matthew then adds that Christ was the Messiah, to be born of a virgin, of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke, seven centuries later.

This is the last Sunday of our preparation for Christmas, the anniversary of Christ's birth. Like Joseph, we can all feel unworthy of the honor of welcoming him into our hearts and our homes. We are indeed unworthy, not because we have little of this world's goods, but because we have so little humility, so little charity, so little faith and trust in God's goodness. Let us try to imitate Joseph and Mary, the humblest of the humble, the kindliest of the kindly, and the greatest-ever believers in God's goodness and mercy. We can never hope to equal them, but we can follow them humbly, from afar.

The feast of Christmas should draw the hearts of every child of God towards the furnace of divine love. In the manger, the infinite love of God for us miserable sinners is dramatically and forcefully portrayed before our eyes. In that helpless Baby, represented by a statue, we know that the person, and the power, of the omnipotent Creator and sustainer of the universe lie hidden "He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave" for us. He became a creature, like ourselves, so that he would make us sharers in his divine nature. He came on earth to bring us to heaven. He hid his divine nature so that he could cover us with it.

"Unsearchable indeed are the judgements of God, and inscrutable his ways." But though we are unworthy of his infinite love, it nevertheless stands out as clear as the noonday sun in the Incarnation. We realize that we can never make ourselves worthy of this infinite love, but let us imitate Joseph and accept the honor which God is giving us, as we trust that he will continue to make us daily less unworthy.
—Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.

O Lord and Ruler
Thou art He "who didst appear to Moses in the burning bush." "I have seen the affliction of My people in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of the rigor of them that are over the works. And knowing their sorrow, I am come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians and to bring them out of that land into a good and spacious land, into a land that floweth with milk and honey" (Exod. 3:7 f.). Thus spoke the Lord to Moses from the bush which burned but was not consumed, which is a figure of God's condescension to assume the weakness of human nature. The human nature of Christ is united to the burning divine nature, and yet it is not consumed.

As Moses approached the burning bush, so we approach the divine Savior in the form of a child in the crib, or in the form of the consecrated host, and falling down we adore Him. "Put off the shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. . . . I am who am" (Exod. 3:5, 14).

O Adonai, almighty God! Mighty in the weakness of a child, and in the helplessness of the Crucified! Thou, almighty God, mighty in the wonders that Thou hast worked! Mighty in guiding, sustaining, and developing Thy Church! "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).

"Come with an outstretched arm to redeem us." This is the cry of the Church for the second coming of Christ on the last day. The return of the Savior brings us plentiful redemption. "Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you" (Matt. 25-34).
—Excerpted from The Light of the World by Benedict Baur, O.S.B.

Second O Antiphon: O Adonai (O Almighty God/O Lord and Ruler).
Symbols: The Tablets

Come and redeem us with outstretched arm.

Traditional Antiphon: O Lord and Ruler of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with outstretched arm.

O Adonai, et dux domus Israel, qui Moyse in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

Vespers Antiphon: O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

The tablets of stone are a picture of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai. They may be used to represent the whole of God's law, the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, the Torah), or the entire Old Testament.

Recommended Reading: Micah 5:1-9

Fourth Sunday of Advent
Station with Ss. XII Apostoli or Santi Dodici Apostoli (Church of the Twelve Holy Apostles):

At Rome, the Station is in the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles, better known in Rome as better known as Santi Apostoli. We receive today a twelve-fold blessing from the apostles with whom we celebrate this last Sunday of Advent. As living stones we are built on these twelve solid and sacred foundation stones who themselves rest on the divine cornerstone, Christ. Ye holy apostles of Christ, be with us and pray for us, that with well-prepared hearts we may "go forth to meet Him, and say: Great is His dominion, and His kingdom will have no end; He is God, the Mighty, the Ruler, the Prince of Peace."

For more information, see:
Rome Art Lover
Walks in Rome

For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.

Today is Day Four of the Christmas Novena