Fourth Sunday of Advent. Today’s first reading is from Micah 5:1-4a; the second reading is from Hebrews 10:5-10 and the Gospel Reading is from Luke 1:39-45.
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Reading 1, Micah 5:1-4
1 But you (Bethlehem) Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah, from you will come for me a future ruler of Israel whose origins go back to the distant past, to the days of old.
2 Hence Yahweh will abandon them only until she who is in labour gives birth, and then those who survive of his race will be reunited to the Israelites.
3 He will take his stand and he will shepherd them with the power of Yahweh, with the majesty of the name of his God, and they will be secure, for his greatness will extend henceforth to the most distant parts of the country.
4 He himself will be peace! Should the Assyrian invade our country, should he set foot in our land, we shall raise seven shepherds against him, eight leaders of men;
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Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
2 over Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh; rouse your valour and come to our help.
3 God, bring us back, let your face shine on us and we shall be safe.
15 protect what your own hand has planted.
16 They have thrown it on the fire like dung, the frown of your rebuke will destroy them.
18 Never again will we turn away from you, give us life and we will call upon your name.
19 God Sabaoth, bring us back, let your face shine on us and we shall be safe.
Gospel, Luke 1:39-45
39 Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah.
40 She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.
41 Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42 She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
43 Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?
44 Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.
45 Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
Reading 2, Hebrews 10:5-10
5 and that is why he said, on coming into the world: You wanted no sacrifice or cereal offering, but you gave me a body.
6 You took no pleasure in burnt offering or sacrifice for sin;
7 then I said, ‘Here I am, I am coming,’ in the scroll of the book it is written of me, to do your will, God.
8 He says first You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the cereal offerings, the burnt offerings and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them;
9 and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to do your will. He is abolishing the first sort to establish the second.
10 And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ made once and for all.