Sunday, December 23, 2012: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Book of Micah (5:2-5a)


You, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.


> Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah.

> Foretelling of the destruction and then deliverance of Israel.

> Also cited in Matthew (2:6) – but there the king is Jesus.

> Ephrathah was a clan in the tribe of Judah.

> Bethlehem was also the birthplace of King David.

> It was written around 700 BC that the coming ruler would be a new king.

> He will establish peace and security to the land.



PSALM 80:1-7


1 Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; *
shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.

2 In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, *
stir up your strength and come to help us.

3 Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

4 O LORD God of hosts, *
how long will you be angered
despite the prayers of your people?

5 You have fed them with the bread of tears; *
you have given them bowls of tears to drink.

6 You have made us the derision of our neighbors, *
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

7 Restore us, O God of hosts; *
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.


> God is pictured as the shepherd.

> Corporate song – God you helped us in the past and you can do it again.

> A song of Asaf, who was David’s chief musician.

> The refrain is repeated three times in the psalm.

> Israel is pictured as a vine or vineyard.

> We failed in the past, but never again!



A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Hebrews (10:5-10)


When Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’ (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).” When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.”  He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.


> Hebrews uses the Greek = “body.”  However, in Hebrew = “ears.”

> The new replacing the old.

> The loving of Jesus replaces the old.

> Hebrews is an old name for the Jews (from Judaens).

> We do not know who wrote the book of Hebrews.



The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (1:39–55)


In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”  And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”


> Luke is the only Gospel writer who has John the Baptist and Jesus related.

> There are five parts:  1) Annunciation of the birth of John; 2) Annunciation of the birth of Jesus;  3) Visitation brings John and Jesus together;  4) Birth of John; and 5) Birth of Jesus.

> Little narrative – mostly dialog

> Four canticles in the first two chapters of Luke.

> Annunciation to Zechariah – words of Elizabeth – Mary’s response (similar to Song of Hannah).

> Hears how God has helped us and will continue to do so.