Faith and Family

Faith and Family for December 19: Fourth Sunday of Advent


Lk 1:39-45

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.


UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM

Christmas is often a time for different generations in a family to come together. Grandparents delight in sharing Christmas memories with the youngest family members. On our Christmas tree we hang both new and old ornaments. Our celebrations this year usually prompt us to remember Christmases long past.

Today’s Liturgy of the Word offers us a meeting between old and new. In our Gospel, the Old Covenant– represented by Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist—meets the New Covenant, symbolized by Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Our Second Reading, from the Letter to the Hebrews, presents Jesus— whose sacrificial death on the cross replaces the sacrifices of the old law.

God’s promise to shepherd his flock spans both the old and the new covenants, as our First Reading tells us. The birth of the shepherd-Messiah from the line of David will fulfill ancient promises and usher in an age of peace.

Such fulfillment, such peace, is what both old and young long for as we gather to celebrate Christmas this season. Perhaps the Christmas celebrations in our families might have room for some time of prayer and storytelling which would allow for those hopes to be voiced. For we celebrate the birth of the One who personifies peace: Jesus Christ, born into our world to fulfill the ancient longings of the human family.


DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM

According to this week’s first reading (Micah 5:1-4a), why is Bethlehem special in the eyes of God?

What will the Messiah do?

According to the second reading (Heb 10:5-10), what did God prepare for Christ when he came into the world?

When Christ came into the world, what did he say?

In the Gospel (Lk 1:39-45), why did Mary travel to the hill country?

What happened when Mary and Elizabeth met?

Why does Elizabeth tell Mary that she is blessed?


If there is a close friend who you haven’t spoken to or seen in a while, call or text them or send them a note to let you know you’re thinking of them. If possible, get together either for the holidays or soon after.

The second reading speaks of doing God’s will. Think of something that you or your family can do during this season to do God’s will.

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