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December 20, 2020 • 4th Sunday of Advent

Parish or Diocesan Leaders, please read this!

Preparation

Just Before You Begin

INTRODUCTORY RITES

Introduction

Leader: We continue to celebrate the season of Advent,
a time of waiting, hoping, and looking
for how Christ comes into our world, bringing light into darkness.

Lighting the Advent Wreath

Opening Song


Sing of Mary, first disciple,
Full of grace, beloved of God.
Sing of her courage and compassion
As she defends the forgotten ones.

Blessed is she among all people;
Blessed is she, friend of the poor.
Sing of Mary, God's reflection,
Witness of mercy and God's truth.

Sing of Mary, all creation,
Earth and water, sea and sky.
Let all the church, through the incarnation,
Join with Mary in this time.

All are created in God's image,
All life is sacred, flowing from love.
Mary extends God's invitation:
All are welcome; all belong.

Text © 2015, 2019, Jesse Manibusan. Published by Spirit & Song®, a division of OCP. All rights reserved.

Greeting

Leader: ┼ In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

Leader: Grace and light to you from God our Father
and from his Son, Jesus, who came to be one of us.
We bless you, O Lord, and we praise you.
(The response is: We bless you, O Lord, and we praise you.)

All: We bless you, O Lord, and we praise you.

Leader: We gather together now,
looking for your light and warmth in this season of Advent.
One with all who await your coming throughout the world,
let us now listen to God's Word and join in prayer.

All: Amen.

Litany in Praise of God's Mercy

Leader: As we prepare to hear a story from our faith,
let us remember that God loves us so much
that he sent his Son to be with us.
Lord Jesus, you know we don’t always choose to do the loving thing:
Lord, have mercy.

All: Lord, have mercy.

Leader: Lord Jesus, you teach us to treat others as we want to be treated:
Christ, have mercy.

All: Christ, have mercy.

Leader: Lord Jesus, you ask us to help build the Kingdom of God:
Lord, have mercy.

All: Lord, have mercy.

Opening Prayer

Leader: Let us pray

Leader: God of Love and Light,
you came to be the least among us
to teach us to look out for the least.
Help us to see you in disguise
so that we may serve you
in the least of our brothers and sisters.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

LITURGY OF THE WORD

Alleluia

Gospel

Reader 1: In today’s reading, we hear how Mary learned that she would be Jesus' mother. We now do this action prayer together: May the Lord be on my mind, ┼
on my lips, ┼
and in my heart ┼
as we hear the Gospel today.
A reading from the holy Gospel of Matthew.

Reader 1: One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee
with a message for a virgin named Mary.
She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David.
The angel greeted Mary and said,
“You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was confused by the angel’s words and wondered what they meant.
Then the angel told Mary,
“Don’t be afraid! God is pleased with you,
and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus.
He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High.
The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was.
He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.”
Mary asked the angel,
“How can this happen? I am not married!”
The angel answered,
“The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you.
So your child will be called the holy Son of God.
Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old.
No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son.
Nothing is impossible for God!”
Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant!
Let it happen as you have said.”
And the angel left her.

Reader 1: The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Reader 1: The Gospel of the Lord.

All: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel Song Reflection

Gospel Video Reflections

Reflections on the Readings

  1. Mary was surprised and even frightened when the angel Gabriel came and told her that God wanted her to become Jesus’ mother. She might have thought she wasn’t good enough, or she was too young or too poor to have such an important role. But it just goes to show that God can use all of us to do good things in the world. What might God be asking you to do, even if it surprises you or you think you aren’t good enough to do it?
  2. Mary knows she can’t become a mother all on her own, so for Jesus to be born it has to be a cooperation between her and God. It’s the same with us - God doesn’t ask us to do anything by ourselves - God is ready to help! What can you use God’s help with this week?
  3. The angel Gabriel tells Mary “Nothing is impossible for God.” What are some stories you’ve heard of when something amazing happened that people thought was impossible beforehand?

General Intercessions

Leader: Now let’s pray together to God for what we need.

Reader 2: We pray for all those who don’t have warm and dry homes at this time of year,
that they may find a safe place to live,
let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader 2: We pray that during this Advent season
we can be thoughtful about how we prepare for Christmas
so that we use our time, energy, and money in a way that is good for the world,
let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader 2: We pray for all those who are sick with the coronavirus or anything else,
and for all the people who are caring for them,
let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader 2: We pray for all those who are lonely or are having a hard time finding hope,
that we can be a light for them in their darkness,
let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader 2: For what else and for who else shall we pray?

Hail Mary

Leader: Instead of the Our Father, let us pray together the Hail Mary:

All: Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

Sign of Peace

Leader: Let us now offer each other a sign of peace.

A Litany for Spiritual Communion

Leader: The response is: Lord, bring us closer to you!

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Lord our God,
we wish we could gather today with our parish community,
but we gather here out of love and concern for others.
You teach us that when two or three are gathered in your name,
you are there.
Together, we pray:

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Christ Jesus, you are present in a special way
when bread and wine are turned into your Body and Blood.
Since we cannot receive you in this way today,
We ask that you enter our hearts
so that we may receive you spiritually.
Together, we pray:

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Leader: Lord our God,
watch over your family
and keep us safe in your care,
for all our hope is in you.

All: Lord, bring us closer to you!

Concluding Rite

Blessing & Dismissal

Leader: Go in the peace of Christ.

All: Thanks be to God.

Closing Song

After the Service

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