Catechism Conection
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Fourth Sunday in Advent Cycle A 2016

Catechism Connections
 Fourth Sunday of Advent  Cycle A  2016
Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalm 24:1-6; Romans 1:1-7; 
Matthew 1:18-24
 
This weekend signals the final preparations for the feast of the Nativity. We have started to sing the “O” antiphons every evening at Vespers, each describing a title of the Messiah: “O Wisdom, O Lord of Israel, O Root of Jesse, etc.  As we get closer and closer to the feast, the daily readings are recounting the immediate history that lead to the Christmas event.  Zachariah is visited by an angel to tell him that he and his wife, Elizabeth, will bear a child in their advanced age.  Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel to hear that she will be the virginal mother of the Messiah, and a few months later, John the Baptist, while still in the womb, jumps for joy when he meets the Christ, still in the Virgin’s womb.  We also hear in the daily readings the long list of genealogy from Matthew’s gospel that lead up to the birth of the Messiah.  This weekend we read the passage form Isaiah that foretells the virginal conception: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” (Is. 7:14)  The gospel from Matthew also recounts how Mary comes to be with child (the Holy Spirit has  overshadowed her) and an angel appears to Joseph in a dream encouraging him to go ahead with their planned marriage and take her into his home.  Matthew mentions Joseph several times in his infancy narrative, and he goes out of his way to point out that Jesus will from the line of David.  His gospel begins with that long genealogy of three sets of fourteen generations.  In Hebrew, each letter has a numerical value and there are no written vowels, so DVD, or David, adds up to fourteen (D or Dalet = 4 and V or Vav = 6).  The Church also affirms in paragraph 437 of The Catechism that in the infancy narratives from Matthew’s Gospel, the promise is fulfilled; Isaiah’s writings are being fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.  Come and deliver us, O Lord. Come, and do not delay!
 
From the Catechism:
 
437To the shepherds, the angel announced the birth of Jesus as the Messiah promised to Israel: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  From the beginning he was “the one whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world,” conceived as “holy” in Mary’s virginal womb. God called Joseph “to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” So that Jesus, “who is called Christ,” should be born of Joseph’s spouse into the messianic lineage of David.