Readings for December 18, 2016 Year A Fourth Sunday of Advent

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

 

First Reading and Psalm

  • Isaiah 7:10-16
  • Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Second Reading

  • Romans 1:1-7

Gospel

  • Matthew 1:18-25

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

Challenged by two attacking armies, King Ahaz of Judah, apparently not quite believing Isaiah’s prophecy of victory for his troops, hesitates to ask for a confirming sign. In response, a rather exasperated YAHWEH provides a sign himself: a young woman, perhaps even a virgin, shall bear an extraordinary son named “God is with us” or Emmanuel, and before he even knows right from wrong the fortunes of the enemy will be reversed. The Psalm is a plea to the Shepherd of Israel to put aside his anger with his sheep and shine his face upon them again. Then his right hand man can go into action; then they will be saved and restored; then they will never again turn away from their God; then they will have life. St. Paul begins his letter to the Romans by reminding them that they, as non-Jews, have especially benefited from his calling as apostle to the Gentiles. The Gospel they have received was promised in the Jewish Old Testament prophecies about a Jewish Messiah, the Son of David. Jesus not only fits this description, he was actually declared Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. By grace they too have been welcomed into his now universal fold. Matthew relates how Joseph is directed by an angel to follow through on his engagement to Mary because she is with child through an extraordinary act of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the son she is carrying will save his people from their sins! This birth by a virgin, Matthew tells us, is actually the ultimate fulfillment of the promise of Emmanuel given through the prophet.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Challenged by two attacking armies, King Ahaz of Judah, apparently not quite believing Isaiah’s prophecy of victory for his troops, hesitates to ask for a confirming sign. In response, a rather exasperated YAHWEH provides a sign himself: a young woman, perhaps even a virgin, shall bear an extraordinary son named “God is with us” or Emmanuel, and before he even knows right from wrong the fortunes of the enemy will be reversed.

Psalm

The Psalm is a plea to the Shepherd of Israel to put aside his anger with his sheep and shine his face upon them again. Then his right hand man can go into action; then they will be saved and restored; then they will never again turn away from their God; then they will have life.

New Testament

St. Paul begins his letter to the Romans by reminding them that they, as non-Jews, have especially benefited from his calling as apostle to the Gentiles. The Gospel they have received was promised in the Jewish Old Testament prophecies about a Jewish Messiah, the Son of David. Jesus not only fits this description, he was actually declared Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. By grace they too have been welcomed into his now universal fold.

Gospel

Matthew relates how Joseph is directed by an angel to follow through on his engagement to Mary because she is with child through an extraordinary act of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the son she is carrying will save his people from their sins! This birth by a virgin, Matthew tells us, is actually the ultimate fulfillment of the promise of Emmanuel given through the prophet.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *