Fourth Sunday of Advent, Cycle A

Our readings for Sunday are here

These are the poems, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homilies from the Masses of

  • December 18, 2016 5PM
  • December 22, 2013 Noon

The poems Fr Dennis references this year are:

In 2016, we reflected that —

  • the Nativity is only in Luke and Matthew, but all the gospels have his death and resurrection because that is central to his life and message.
  • However, culturally, Christmas has moved to a more central part of the story
    • The birth of Jesus isn’t “all happy” because of the Death of the Innocents, as well as the pain and danger of birth to mother and child.
    • There is cultural fun, too, in that there are different stories about the birth of Jesus (e.g., the Huron Carol) and that every child, each of us!, is a reaffirmation of the birth of Jesus.
  • In December by Gary Johnson
    • He alludes to many Christmas carols (see some below).
    • The allusions suggest our hopes of greater holiness and wisdom
    • the dark of night : the dark of the future
  • In Going to Bed by George Bilgere
    • It is not just a poem about every day matters; like Johnson’s, he ties the ordinary modern things to reverence
  • In the sum of it all, there is simple excitement in knowing Jesus is our Savior, and that is something to celebrate in and of itself.

In 2013, we reflected that —

  • Joseph is a righteous man, meaning that he follows the law, but doesn’t want Mary to face public shame.
  • This sense we get of Joseph being faithful to the law and conscious of the people involved is like Pope Francis, about placing the person first then the law, i.e., being pastoral.
  • Gary Johnson’s December poem utilizes snippets and words evocative of specific Christmas carols, resulting in a poem with smiles but also the richness of a realistic faith:
    • Adeste Fideles — “singing for the faithful to come ye”
    • Twelve Days of Christmas — “partridge in a pear tree // And the golden rings and the turtle doves.”
    • O Little Town of Bethlehem — “In the dark streets [lights shining]”
    • Adeste Fideles — “Not much triumph going on here.”
    • O Little Town of Bethlehem — “And my hopes and fears are met // “
    • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing — “And are there angels hovering overhead? Hark.”

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