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Advent 2016 | Volume 35, Number 8

Inside this issue. . . Welcoming the King of Glory

Credit:© RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY Adoration of the Shepherds. Italian School. Anonymous, 18th century Cover design by Andrea Alvarez

A Constant Advisor His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor.


A Powerful Savior His name shall be called Mighty God.


A Loving Provider His name shall be called Everlasting Father.


A Comforting Friend His name shall be called Prince of Peace.


Daily Meditations November 27–December 31

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Spirit of Catholic Living

St. Joseph: Father, Refugee, Role Model We can learn much from his courage and trust.


The Gift of Peace The perfect choice for everyone on your Christmas list.


Beating Invisible Enemies A combat veteran’s spiritual recovery after Iraq.


A Daily Approach to Prayer & Scripture

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Nothing Is Impossible


very year around this time, you’ll find church choirs around the world practicing a piece of music that is based on just one verse from the prophet Isaiah. The piece, from Handel’s Messiah, rejoices that a son has been born, “And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (see Isaiah 9:5). Isaiah wrote these words around the eighth century BC. The people of Jerusalem were living through a time of upheaval, and everyone was looking for relief. Isaiah promised that this relief would come in the form of a new king, a “child” upon whose shoulders all “dominion” would rest (Isaiah 9:5). Fast-forward to today. We all feel the upheaval caused by terrorism, inner-city violence, racial strife, and the plight of millions of refugees. There is so much fear and insecurity in the world! All these problems can seem so powerful that we forget the promise of Christmas, that Jesus is “Emmanuel,” God with us. God is with us—and he came as a helpless baby. But considering the

darkness in the world, how can we put our faith in a little child? It would be difficult under normal circumstances. But Jesus is not your typical baby. First there was the angel inviting Mary to become the Mother of God. Then there was Joseph’s dream, when the angel asked him to stay with Mary. Then even more angels appeared to shepherds glorifying God. There was even a star that led wise men from the East to the child. That’s about as far from typical as you can get! But as the angel told Mary, “Nothing will be impossible for God” (Luke 1:37).

Not Just a Theory. So who is this baby for whom nothing is impossible? As Wonderful Counselor, he teaches us the way to live. As Mighty God, he gives us the power to live according to the way he taught. As Everlasting Father, he walks with us and encourages us along the way. And as Prince of Peace, he offers us his consolation as we face the challenges of life. This is not just a theory, and it’s not just something that happened two thousand years ago. This Advent, we want to explore how we can experience each of these characteristics of Jesus ourselves.

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e d l g . n . o s m s t l .

s e y e s s . s -

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Each article contains stories from people who have had these experiences. I know all of these people personally, and I have seen firsthand how these experiences have changed their lives. Their names have been changed, but their stories are real, and they all tell us that Jesus is still at work today.


Joe Difato Publisher (

Spirit of Catholic Living

Publisher: Joseph Difato, PhD Editor: Leo Zanchettin Associate Editor: Susan Heuver Features Editor: Kathryn Elliott Assistant Editor for Special Editions: Lynne May Assistant Editor for Meditations: Hallie Riedel Contributing Writers: Ann Bottenhorn, Jill Boughton, Bob French, P.M. Graham, Theresa Keller, Christine Laton, Joel Laton, Lisa Sharafinski, Patty Whelpley Art Direction: Andrea Alvarez, David Crosson Theological Advisors: Fr. Joseph A. Mindling, OFM Cap, Fr. Joseph F. Wimmer, OSA Proofreader: Ginger Roché TWAU Partners Director: Orlando Barras Prison and Women’s Ministries: Angela Burrin Military Ministry: Bryan Keilty For questions about your subscription or to contact our editor, write to The Word Among Us, 7115 Guilford Dr. STE 100 Frederick, Maryland 21704. U.S. and Canada call 1-800-775-WORD (9673) Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. EST. Outside the U.S.A. call 1-301-874-1700. Fax 301-874-2190. Customer Service on the Internet at Customer Service Email Support at Our Web address is Made in the U.S.A. Canadian Publications Mail Agreement #40031176 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to The Word Among Us, c/o Metanoia Outreach, Box 1107, Station F Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2T8 e-mail: Copyright © 2016 The Word Among Us.

On behalf of everyone at The Word Among Us, I want to wish you a blessed and happy Christmas. May God’s blessings be on you and all your loved ones during this season.

President: Jeff Smith Chief Operations Officer: Jack Difato General Manager: John Roeder The Word Among Us Press Sales Manager: Don Cooper Editor: Beth McNamara Associate Editor: Patricia Mitchell Production Manager: Nancy Clemens Data Entry Manager: Natalie Cleland Customer Service Manager: Shannan Slovon Parish Service Manager: Mary Callahan Internet Services Manager: Theresa Keller Distribution Manager: Diane Menapace Information Services Managers: Darla Forbes, Melanie Goggin

Articles in this booklet may be reproduced with prior approval of the publisher for use in Bible studies, discussion groups, religion classes, and the like. Excerpts from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Psalms, Copyright © 1991, 1986, 1970, by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Periodically we contact our readers by telephone, offering our products and publications. From time to time, we also allow selected organizations to send mail to our subscribers relating to their mission. However, we never give our customers’ phone numbers to any other organizations. If you would rather not receive any promotional mailings from other organizations or if you do not wish to receive phone calls from our representatitves, please call Customer Service at 1-800-775-9673, e-mail us at, or write us at 7115 Guilford Dr. STE 100 Frederick, Maryland 21704.

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And his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor

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n 1741, the composer George Frideric Handel wrote his famous oratorio, Messiah. As the title implies, the oratorio traces Jesus’ birth (Part 1), his death (Part 2), and his resurrection (Part 3). We are most familiar with his “Hallelujah!” chorus, but the entire oratorio is a moving portrait of Jesus drawn entirely from Scripture. Throughout Messiah, Handel mixed Old Testament prophecies with New Testament verses, showing how dramatically Jesus fulfilled the Hebrew Scriptures. One of the most popular pieces from the Christmas section is “For unto Us a Child Is Born,” which draws from Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Just reading these words, many of you probably have the music running through your minds right now. That’s how popular this piece is—and that’s how many of us have come to know this verse as a prophecy about Jesus. In this Advent 2016 | 5

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special Advent issue, we are going to look at the four titles for the “Son” that Isaiah prophesied about. We are also going to look at how Jesus embodies each of these titles. He is a Wonderful Counselor who wants to guide our lives. He is the Mighty God who has authority over all creation. He is an Everlasting Father who leads us and cares for us. And he is the Prince of Peace who teaches us how to walk in peace. So let’s begin by looking at Jesus the Wonderful Counselor.

An Unsettling World. The world is in so much turmoil right now. From terrorist attacks in foreign countries to violent demonstrations in our city streets, from a widening wealth gap to famine and homelessness, it’s no wonder that many people are left feeling lost and cynical. We wonder, “How am I supposed to live in such a world?” Many people, from presidents and prime ministers to priests and rabbis and counselors and selfhelp gurus, offer us assurance and advice. While some of their words can be helpful, none of them can compare with the counsel that Jesus offers us. So what is it that makes Jesus such a Wonderful Counselor? The

obvious answer is that he is the Son of God who knows everything. But there’s more to it than that: Jesus knows what it’s like to walk in our shoes.

Firsthand Knowledge. The heart of the Christmas story is the fact that in Jesus, God became man. Jesus came into the world and lived among us as one of us. He experienced firsthand so many of the joys and hopes, the challenges and disappointments, that we face. He felt the joy of close friendships and the antagonism of enemies. He felt the pull of temptation and the peace that comes from overcoming it. Even those things he didn’t experience himself, he observed closely and felt deeply. All of these experiences, both good and bad, contributed to make Jesus “a high priest” who is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15). He knows us intimately because he became like us in every way but sin (2:17). At the same time, Jesus is also the Son of God, the One in whom “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). He knows what is in our hearts and minds (Mark 2:8; John 2:2425). Because he is all-knowing, he

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esus knows us intimately because he became like us in every way but sin. knows exactly what we need to hear at any given moment! So when you combine Jesus’ experiences as a man with his wisdom and knowledge as the Son of God, you can see how he deserves the title Wonderful Counselor. Not only does he know exactly what we need to hear, but he can say it to us with great compassion and warmth because he has been through our challenges himself.

Advent Steps. The good news is that Jesus wants to give us his counsel. He wants to help us far more than any parent wants to help their children. The other good news is that it’s not difficult for us to receive his counsel. Here are three simple steps

that we can take each day during this Advent season so that we can hear his voice: • Clear up the static. Sin, when left unconfessed, can block our ability to hear what Jesus wants to say. Just as we hate the static on a cell-phone call, we have to hate our sins because they make it hard to hear Jesus. So clear up the static by celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Make it a point, each evening, to ask Jesus to forgive you of any of the smaller sins you may have committed that day. • Feed your faith. We are most likely to hear Jesus’ counsel as we pray, celebrate the sacraments, and ponder Scripture. So set aside time for him Advent 2016 | 7

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each day of Advent. Physical trainers promise that thirty minutes of exercise a day for thirty days will make “a stronger, healthier you.” The same is true for prayer. • Be alert. Jesus doesn’t speak only when we are in the quiet of prayer. He is always ready to give us his wisdom and offer us his guidance. This is especially true when we face a challenging decision. So try to stay alert for his voice, his promptings, and his love throughout your day.

another argument. Just before things got too heated, Tom stopped himself and told his son, “I am learning how Jesus forgives me. So I want to say that I am sorry for being too critical of you just now. I don’t want us to argue.” Moved by his father’s words, the young man said he, too, was sorry for being so stubborn. The argument never happened. As he looked back on that situation, Tom realized that Jesus had given him the right words to say.

A Constant Presence. If you fol-

Tom’s Story. After hearing a hom- low Tom’s example, you will find ily on prayer one Sunday, a fellow named Tom decided to set aside time each morning of Advent just for Jesus. He prayed the Lord’s Prayer three times slowly, and he carefully read the Mass readings for that day. Then he read the meditation from The Word Among Us and tried to put into practice what he was learning. After just one week, Tom could see changes. He felt closer to Jesus. He was able to be more kind to people and more cheerful—even when things didn’t go as planned. Then came a decisive moment. Tom had often found himself at odds with his teenage son. One day, three weeks into his new prayer routine, Tom and his son were on the brink of

yourself thinking and acting differently. You’ll be more able to hold your peace. You’ll find a new resolve to hold your anger or to let go of a mood. So put a plan into place today. See for yourself if fifteen minutes of prayer can lead to a “stronger, more powerful you.” It may not build strong muscles, but it will make you more loving, caring, and peaceful. Everyone you know will see the difference by Christmas day. Guaranteed. When you look at the baby in the manger this Advent, know that you are looking at the wisest and most compassionate person you could ever meet. Let him become your Wonderful Counselor. !

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has become a season of hope—hope that the baby born in Bethlehem will return one day and usher in the kingdom of God. Hope is what helps us step out and believe in what we cannot see. Hope is God’s grace to accept that there is a certain amount of mystery to our faith and to still be confident Sunday, November 27 that God can work in our lives. Matthew 24:37-44 This is not a blind hope, and it’s Stay awake! . . . Be prepared. not all an impossible mystery that we (Matthew 24:42, 44) will never understand. In the midst Today marks the beginning of of all the mysteries of our faith, we the Advent season. History tells us that Advent has been observed since can still believe because of what we do understand: that God’s Son came around the fourth century AD. Inito us on Christmas in order to save tially, Advent was seen as a time of us from our sins and fill us with his preparation, both for new believers Holy Spirit. to be baptized and for all believers So for the next four weeks, let’s to look forward to Jesus’ return in glory. As time went on, the emphasis set our hearts on preparing—first, for Christmas and, second, for Jesus’ on the Second Coming and baptism return in glory. And let’s do it filled remained, and a new emphasis on with confidence and hope. Let’s tell Jesus’ first coming as a baby grew Jesus, “This world is not my peralong with it. Today, it seems that Advent is manent home. I long for a heavenly much more about celebrating Jesus’ home. I long to be with you forever. first coming rather than anticipatCome, Lord Jesus.” “O come, O come, Emmanuel!” ing his Second Coming. Still, the Church reminds us to use this time to prepare for Christmas and to let it ! Isaiah 2:1-5 “renew [our] ardent desire for [Jesus’] Psalm 122:1-9 second coming” (Catechism of the Romans 13:11-14 Catholic Church, 524). So with this double goal of celebration and anticipation in mind, Advent



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Monday, November 28 Psalm 122:1-9 I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1-2) We’ve all felt it: that thrill of anticipation over an upcoming trip. We’ve counted the days till we can pack the car, board the plane, or hit the trail. Well, here we are in the first week of Advent, just starting our journey to the Christmas crib. Are you feeling the thrill? Can you say, in the spirit of today’s psalm, I rejoiced when the calendar told me “We will go again to Bethlehem”? Whatever your answer, Psalm 122 suggests a way to help you find more joy during this Advent season. This is a pilgrimage psalm, one of fifteen labeled “Song of Ascents” (Psalms 120–134). Most likely, they were sung by the people of Israel as they trekked to Jerusalem to celebrate the three great yearly festivals. Psalm 122 is sung by one of these pilgrims as he arrives, bursting with joy at finally reaching his destination. Picture him jubilant at the gates, singing Jerusalem’s praises. To him, the holy city means protection and community, justice and peace, because it centers on the Temple, “the house of the LORD.” He is awed and delighted to be approaching God’s presence; he is

eager to thank God for his blessings and to pray for peace. This pilgrim clearly thought about where he was going and why he was going there. What about us? What is our destination, and why are we taking this journey? Our destination is clear: Jesus. The journey leads to the One who can fill our hearts with joy and gladness. Why are we are taking this journey? Because like the psalmist, we too long for God’s rest and peace. We are journeying because we know, deep down inside, that only the Lord can give us our hearts’ desires. The marvelous thing about Advent is that we can find joy in the journey as well as in the destination. That’s because Jesus is with us every step of the way. He is speaking words of encouragement through the Scriptures; he is showering us with love through our friends and family; he is feeding us and refreshing us in Communion. He is the best traveling companion because he knows the way, and he is committed to bringing you home with him. “Jesus, give me a spirit of joy as I travel to you.” !

Isaiah 4:2-6 Matthew 8:5-11

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Tuesday, November 29 Isaiah 11:1-10 A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. (Isaiah 11:1) Picture a tree stump. It’s graying, dry, maybe even crumbling away. It seems impossible that a shoot—or any sign of life—could sprout from something so barren. But if you think about it, this kind of image lies at the heart of many of our favorite biblical stories. For instance, you might think of the act of creation as the original sprouting stump. Out of a formless, shapeless chasm sprang an entire universe! Though they were elderly, Abraham and Sarah produced a bud that would eventually bloom into a whole nation. Mary wasn’t exactly lifeless, but new life came from her in an unexpected way. And then there’s Jesus. Think of how his life and ministry were cut down on the cross, only to shoot up from the grave three days later! This image of life miraculously springing up from old stumps is deeply embedded in our faith. It has also taken root in you. Take a few seconds to wander through the garden of your heart. Do you see any stumps poking out? We all have them. Maybe it’s a wounded relationship with a family member

or lingering guilt over a sin you have already confessed. It could be anxiety over the future or a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that tells you God is displeased with you. Whatever it is, know that God can bring new life out of any situation, even something that seems as dead as an old tree stump. He can help you become more loving, more patient, and more compassionate. Don’t let these stumps intimidate you. Any time you stumble upon one, or stumble over one, pray, “Father, I believe that you can bring new life here.” Statements of faith like this can go a long way in helping you experience God’s touch. They can remind you that the Lord is good and patient and loving. They can help you to keep moving forward with the Lord and not get stuck in worry or guilt. There is so much more to your life than stumps! God has planted a forest full of seeds in you. Take a look around, and see how many of them are bearing wonderful fruit. “Here I am, Lord. Let every part of me teem with your life and joy.” !

Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 Luke 10:21-24

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Wednesday, November 30 St. Andrew Matthew 4:18-22 They left their boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:22) Face-to-face communication is becoming less common, isn’t it? We can spend a whole day e-mailing, texting, and talking on the phone. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter keep us in touch without ever touching. Some of us work from the comfort (and isolation) of home and rarely have the chance to interact. Even online shopping can keep us away from merchants who may be just around the corner. All of this technology certainly does make life more convenient. But what if Andrew and Simon Peter had met Jesus only online instead of faceto-face? Do you think they would have been as deeply affected as they are in today’s Gospel reading? Actually, this is not the first time they’ve seen him. John the Baptist had introduced Andrew to Jesus earlier, and Andrew spent the entire day with him. Andrew in turn introduced Simon to him—the one whom Jesus renamed Cephas, or Peter (John 1:35-42). Both brothers’ lives were changed because they spent time with Jesus. As we celebrate St. Andrew today, let’s remember that this kind of

direct encounter is at the heart of evangelization. In an Advent speech three years ago, Pope Francis said, “The most important thing that can happen to a person is to encounter Jesus, who loves us, who has saved us, who gave his life for us.” We can’t simply hope that the people around us will absorb enough information about Christ to become his disciples. We need to introduce them to Jesus, just as Andrew introduced Peter to him. Bringing someone to Christ doesn’t have to be hard. Of course we can pray for people and tell them about God’s love. But sometimes we make more progress with simple expressions of love that are reflections of the Lord. Listening can be just as effective as prayer. A warm embrace can speak more powerfully than a lecture on sin. An invitation to lunch can have a greater impact than a logical presentation of the truths of the gospel. Kindness, generosity, compassion—these are the keys that unlock the treasures of the gospel! “Lord, send me to someone who needs to encounter you today.” !

Romans 10:9-18 Psalm 19:8-11

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Friday, December 3

Mass Readings Supplement $10 per year.

Daily Mass Readings November 27– December 31, 2016


Sunday, November 27 1st Sunday of Advent

Every year Advent reminds us that grace—and that is God’s will to save man—is more powerful than sin. —St. John Paul II (Roman Missal 130; Lectionary 1) Entrance To you, I lift up my soul, O my God. Antiphon In you, I have trusted; let me not be put to shame.

Nor let my enemies exult over me; and let none who hope in you be put to shame. Cf. Ps 25 (24).1-3 Collect Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,

the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. First Isaiah 2.1-5 Reading The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and

Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, ADVENT 2016 | M1


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Sunday, November 27 to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, et us walk in the light of the Lord! Responsorial Psalm 122 Psalm R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. R. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David. R. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.” R. For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good. R.



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Sunday, November 27 Second Romans 13.11-14 Reading Brothers and sisters, you know what time it is, how it is now the

moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Gospel Alleluia, alleluia. Acclamation Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. Ps 85.7

Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel Matthew 24.37-44 Reading JESUS SPOKE TO HIS DISCIPLES: “As the days of Noah were, so will

be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.� Profession (See Liturgy, page L3) of Faith Prayer Accept, we pray, O Lord, these offerings we make, over the gathered from among your gifts to us, Offerings and may what you grant us to celebrate devoutly here below

gain for us the prize of eternal redemption. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. ADVENT 2016 | M3


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Monday, November 28 Communion The Lord will bestow his bounty, and our earth shall yield its Antiphon increase. Ps 85 (84).13 Prayer after May these mysteries, O Lord, Communion in which we have participated,

profit us, we pray, for even now, as we walk amid passing things, you teach us by them to love the things of heaven and hold fast to what endures. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Monday, November 28 1st Week of Advent

Advent is the season of the secret, the secret of the growth of Christ, of Divine Love growing in silence. —Caryll Houselander (Roman Missal 131; Lectionary 175) Entrance Hear the word of the Lord, O nations; Antiphon declare it to the distant lands:

Behold, our Saviour will come; you need no longer fear. Cf. Jer 31.10; Is 35.4 Collect Keep us alert, we pray, O Lord our God,

as we await the advent of Christ your Son, so that, when he comes and knocks, he may find us watchful in prayer and exultant in his praise. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. First Isaiah 4.2-6 Reading The vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and

Jerusalem: On that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory M4 | MASS READINGS SUPPLEMENT


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Monday, November 28 of the survivors of Israel. Whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, once the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its places of assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night. Indeed over all the glory there will be a canopy. It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain. Responsorial Psalm 122 Psalm R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. R. Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord. R. As was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David. R. For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.’’ For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good. R. Gospel Alleluia, alleluia. Acclamation Come and save us, Lord our God;

let us see your face, and we shall be saved. Cf. Ps 80.4 Alleluia, alleluia.

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Monday, November 28 Gospel Matthew 8.5-11, 13 Reading WHEN JESUS ENTERED CAPERNAUM, a centurion came to him,

appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. To the centurion Jesus said “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour. Prayer Accept, we pray, O Lord, these offerings we make, over the gathered from among your gifts to us, Offerings and may what you grant us to celebrate devoutly here below

gain for us the prize of eternal redemption. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Communion Come, O Lord, visit us in peace, Antiphon that we may rejoice before you with a blameless heart. Cf. Ps 106 (105).4-5; Is 38.3 Prayer after May these mysteries, O Lord, Communion in which we have participated,

profit us, we pray, for even now, as we walk amid passing things, you teach us by them to love the things of heaven and hold fast to what endures. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



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The Order of Mass INTRODUCTORY RITES Entrance (See each day.) Antiphon Greeting In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And with your spirit. (Other forms of the Greeting can be found in the Missal.) Penitential Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins, Act and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries. I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, (The people strike their breast, saying:) through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault;

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therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God. Or: Have mercy on us, O Lord. For we have sinned against you. Show us, O Lord, your mercy. And grant us your salvation. May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen. (Other forms of the Penitential Act can be found in the Missal.) Kyrie (The Kyrie is omitted if it has already been used in one of the forms of the Penitential Act.) V. Lord, have mercy. V. Christ, have mercy. V. Lord, have mercy. Or: V. Kyrie, eleison. V. Christe, eleison. V. Kyrie, eleison.

R. Lord, have mercy. R. Christ, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy. R. Kyrie, eleison. R. Christe, eleison. R. Kyrie, eleison.

Gloria (When it is prescribed, this hymn is either said or sung:) Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, L2 | LITURGY

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we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen. Collect (See each day.)

LITURGY OF THE WORD Readings (See each day.) The Nicene I believe in one God, Creed the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. ADVENT 2016 | L3

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God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, (At the words that follow, up to and including and became man, all bow.) and * by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. * (At Mass on Christmas, kneel at the words and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate) For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen. Or: L4 | LITURGY

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The Apostles’ I believe in God, Creed the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, (At the words that follow, up to and including born of the Virgin Mary, all bow—at Mass on Christmas, kneel.) * who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen. Prayer of the Faithful

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST Presentation and Preparation of the Gifts

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received this bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life. Blessed be God for ever. ADVENT 2016 | L5

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Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink. Blessed be God for ever. Invitation to Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), Prayer that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father. May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church. Prayer over (See each day.) the Offerings

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER I Preface V. The Lord be with you. Dialogue R. And with your spirit. V. Lift up your hearts. R. We lift them up to the Lord. V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. R. It is right and just. Preface (Then follows the Preface to be used in accord with the rubrics, which concludes:) Preface Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Acclamation Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. L6 | LITURGY

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(Words within brackets may be omitted.) To you, therefore, most merciful Father, we make humble prayer and petition through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord: that you accept and bless these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices, which we offer you firstly for your holy catholic Church. Be pleased to grant her peace, to guard, unite and govern her throughout the whole world, together with your servant N. our Pope and N. our Bishop, and all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the catholic and apostolic faith. Remember, Lord, your servants N. and N. and all gathered here, whose faith and devotion are known to you. For them, we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them: for the redemption of their souls, in hope of health and well-being, and paying their homage to you, the eternal God, living and true. * On the Nativity of the Lord and throughout the Octave: Celebrating the most sacred night (day) on which blessed Mary the immaculate Virgin brought forth the Saviour for this world, and in communion . . .

ADVENT 2016 | L7

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In communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, and blessed Joseph, her Spouse, your blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, (James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Jude: Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian) and all your Saints; we ask that through their merits and prayers, in all things we may be defended by your protecting help. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.) Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation of our service, that of your whole family; order our days in your peace, and command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those you have chosen. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.) Be pleased, O God, we pray, to bless, acknowledge, and approve this offering in every respect; make it spiritual and acceptable, so that it may become for us the Body and Blood of your most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. L8 | LITURGY

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St. Joseph:

Father, Refugee, Role Model We can learn much from his courage and trust BY DEACON GREG KANDRA


s there any saint both more familiar and yet more unknown than St. Joseph? His likeness

appears in statues, nativity scenes, and Christmas cards. Countless children around the world are baptized with his name. Yet we know next to nothing about him—his upbringing, how he met Mary, or even his age. The gospels are silent about all of this, and Joseph himself never utters a word. He

is effectively the silent partner in the Holy Family: a figure who works, dreams, and cares for his wife and son, then vanishes from the New Testament. As a result, one of Christianity’s most iconic figures is also a mystery—a mystery who is nonetheless intimately connected to our modern challenges. Advent 2016 | 59

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The season of Advent is a good time to think about why Joseph matters so much today. The Church officially reveres him as the patron saint of workers, of fathers, and of a happy death. But I like to think of him as a patron for other causes that speak profoundly to us now. After all, Joseph dealt with the same crises that millions of families face today: government-sponsored terrorism, forced migration, and the pressure of leading a family in distress. Like no other saint, he can help us respond to these challenges with the steadfast faith and courage that he showed.

A Man on a Journey. Not once, but three times, the Gospels describe Joseph as a man on a journey. First, he sets out for Bethlehem with Mary, his pregnant wife, for a mandated census. Then, with their newborn baby, they flee Bethlehem for Egypt. Later, in calmer political times, Joseph takes his family to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Passover. Much of what we know of Joseph’s life, then, is an odyssey— heading from place to place, often going great distances to fulfill the will of God. It is that middle journey to Egypt that has such a powerful hold on my

imagination. King Herod, terrified by reports of a newborn king living in Bethlehem, has ordered the death of all the boys in that city. And so one morning, the families of Bethlehem awoke to hoofbeats outside the door and the metallic sound of swords being drawn from their sheaths. The frantic and terrified cries of mothers and children followed. It was this ancient form of state-sponsored terrorism that compelled Joseph to escape with his family from Judea to Egypt—a 200-mile journey across a desolate desert. How many people today are compelled to leave home and comfort to make a similar journey? The worldwide number of migrants in 2015 reached 244 million, including 20 million refugees. There are Central American migrants leaving behind spouses and children to find opportunities in the north; Syrian and Lebanese families taking dangerous voyages to Europe only to be confined in crowded camps; persecuted families in Eritrea and the Horn of Africa fleeing to neighboring Ethiopia to find nothing but drought. There are literally millions of Josephs in our time. Consider Hassan, a refugee father from Syria who was once a

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Joseph dealt with the same crises that millions of families face today: forced migration and the pressure of leading a family in distress. professional electrician with a car and a home. When the violence in Syria became unbearable, Hassan and his wife, mother-in-law, and three children sought refuge in Beirut, Lebanon. Their concrete ground-floor unit in a multistory refugee camp floods regularly. Although his family’s future is fraught with uncertainty, Hassan has made their housing safer through repairs. He has worked to register his newborn son in Lebanon. He is trying to make a life for his family in this new place. For people like Hassan, as well as for each of us on our journey, Joseph stands as an example of resolute trust. He conveys the same message

carried to him by an angel: Do not be afraid (Matthew 1:20). Without saying a word, Joseph offers steadfastness, surety, and hope. He was able to cross the distance and keep his family safe. As we wonder how, we can imagine God walking with Joseph, guiding him at critical points and giving him courage and comfort. Having made such a perilous journey, Joseph shows us that God will walk with each of us too, wherever our journey takes us.

Patron for Victims of Terrorism. The terror and religious persecution that made Joseph a refugee continue today. Christian churches and Arab mosques alike are being Advent 2016 | 61

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Credit: Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, USA/Bridgeman Images

burned and bombed. Innocent children are being kidnapped. From the Holy Land to India, from Europe to the Americas, innumerable families know what it’s like to live under the shadow of death. They have seen small caskets carried on the shoulders of weeping fathers. They have looked into the vacant, shell-shocked eyes of mothers who cannot put their sorrow into words. In many ways, these are the descendants of the families of Bethlehem. St. Joseph can be their advocate and intercessor. He weeps with them, grieves with them, and prays for them. He knows the only thing that prevented his family from suffering the same fate was the voice of an angel—and his own faithfilled surrender to God’s plan. His example of quiet strength can serve as an encouragement to all of us as we struggle to maintain hope in times of difficulty and personal pain. This simple man of modest means understood, more than we may realize, what it is to care for a family in a challenging or dangerous or violent time. Whenever we ask God to comfort the grieving, lift up the downtrodden, and console the terrified, Joseph joins us as an empathetic and compassionate intercessor.

Friend for the Anxious. In the late nineteenth century, wealthy Parisians sought after the services of realist portrait painter James Tissot, a celebrated French artist. One day, while doing research for a painting, Tissot stepped inside a church and was deeply moved by what he saw. This profound

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Joseph’s example of quiet strength can serve as an encouragement to all of us as we struggle to maintain hope. religious experience convinced him to devote the rest of his life to spiritual themes. The Brooklyn Museum houses many of his sketches and watercolors, among them a surprising portrait of St. Joseph (see above). Tissot paints Joseph leaning heavily over his carpenter’s table. His shop is cramped, with tools and wood

shavings everywhere. The windows look out onto the streets of Nazareth, where townspeople go about their business. But in the middle stands Joseph, his bearded chin in hand, deep in thought. The painting’s title says it all: The Anxiety of Saint Joseph. We rarely think of him that way. Yet what we see in Tissot’s Advent 2016 | 63

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painting is a man who knew worry and uncertainty. Joseph found himself unexpectedly about to become a father, under mysterious circumstances no less. He must have wondered how he would support this suddenly growing family, as well as how he would explain what had happened to a doubting, judgmental world. The anxiety of Joseph is the anxiety of any nervous expectant father. It is the anxiety of anyone facing a future that seems overwhelming or a mystery that seems unsolvable or a job that seems too daunting. His worries are familiar to anyone who has ever felt that the world’s burdens were too heavy to bear. This is why we can all relate to him. In moments of worry and uncertainty, Joseph holds onto faith, hope, and trust. His example shows us how to do the same.

“Do Not Be Afraid.” This Advent, as many of us struggle with how to do God’s will or trust in his plan, St. Joseph shows us the way. For Joseph, as well as for us, the way starts by following the angel’s call not to fear. God helped Joseph navigate his burdens. He didn’t take them away; he just showed Joseph that he was trustworthy.

Joseph, in turn, listened to God’s promptings and courageously followed them. He trusted God and stayed faithful in prayer even when his work and home life were turned upside down. His love for Jesus and Mary compelled him to keep trying. In the end, his courage, trust, and steadfast love became the foundation for Jesus to grow up and fulfill the will of the Father. We, too, can create openings for Jesus this Advent. As we try our best to follow God’s will and love our families, we can trust that Joseph is interceding for us. This year, as you light the candles and sing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” remember that the light of Jesus is growing brighter. God’s presence is closer. If you have any doubts about that, just think of Joseph, the great silent partner of the Holy Family, model of courage and perseverance in troubled times. Hold onto the words of the angel that echoed down to him—and to us—as the great defining message of Advent hope: Do not be afraid. n Deacon Greg Kandra serves the Diocese of Brooklyn. He is also the multimedia editor for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) and blogs daily at

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The Word Among Us Canadian Advent 2016  

The Word Among Us Mass Readings Canadian Edition for Advent 2016 (sample)

The Word Among Us Canadian Advent 2016  

The Word Among Us Mass Readings Canadian Edition for Advent 2016 (sample)