Recently, Rita has begun a project that she has talked about for many years. There are many books of daily prayers available – some of them for married couples. Rita has wanted to use her experience of teaching scripture to high school students to write a book for couples based on the daily readings, accompanied by a short reflection on the readings and a prayer. We have selected her entry for Monday of the fourth week of advent to share with you because it gives the season a slightly different perspective for married couples.
I know that I am highly prejudiced, but I think Rita is becoming a very good (and short) homilist. We hope you enjoy this reading and have a blessed and merry Christmas.
You can find the readings of the day here.
Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent or December 19
Reading 1 Jgs 13:2-7, 24-25a
Responsorial Psalm Ps 71:3-4a, 5-6ab, 16-17
R. (8) My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
Gospel Lk 1:5-25
“But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard.” Lk 1:13
“I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.” Lk 1:19
There is a popular saying “be careful what you wish for…” When I looked at today’s readings that phrase popped into my head but I substituted “prayer” for” wish”. I think of all the many things I’ve prayed for in my marriage but then I wasn’t sure how to live with what I received. As a teenage girl, once I was sure I did not have a religious vocation, I began to pray for a husband. We’re not sure exactly when we met but in my freshman year of high school I met the man who has shared the remaining years of my life. Once I knew he was the answer to my prayers everything in my life changed. Yet there have been times when I have been afraid of what being married requires of me. It is at those times in my life, when I don’t think I’m worthy of the gift that God gave me, that am most afraid. Being loved by my husband and loving in return has changed every aspect of who I am and how I live my life. I think that is what both people in today’s readings feared. While both Samson’s mother and Zachariah, John the Baptist’s father, wanted a child they didn’t trust that it could happen. It was too great of a gift for them to imagine. I can say the same about marriage. All the things that have happened to me emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually are beyond human expectation and yet they did occur. In human terms being married, as I am, is the best “good news” that there is. As I reflect back this Advent season, there has never been a reason to be afraid. God chose the person with whom I’ve spent my life and He has walked with us the entire journey. What better way to recognize the gift of Our Savior this Christmas than to recognize the gift of love entrusted to us in marriage. As Gabriel said “Do not be afraid for I announce to you this good news.”
Wonderful God and Remarkable Savior, our mouths are filled with praise and we sing your glory. You are the rock of our refuge and the stronghold when we are afraid. You are our hope at all times and today we proclaim that trust. You have entrusted us with the greatest gift that there is—the undivided love of another person. We know that without you we become afraid. Today and always help us to believe with all our hearts the good news embodied in our spouse and our marriage and know that we have nothing to fear because we see what you have done for us.
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Note: We will spend next week celebrating Christmas and New Years with our children and their families, so we have decided to take a week off. There will be no post next week, but look for us again on Jan 4.
Bob & Rita Boeke are:
Authors: Forever and a Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage that Lasts a Lifetime
Presenters of Marriage Enrichment Programs. Info at http://readabookpress.com
Bloggers at http://thewonderofmarriage.com
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or 847.204.1151