Today's Liturgy gives us a lesson in ancient Israelite geography and history. Isaiah's prophecy in today's First Reading is quoted by Matthew in today's Gospel. Both intend to recall the apparent fall of the everlasting kingdom promised to David (see 2 Samuel 7:12-13; Psalm 89; Psalm 132:11-12).
Eight centuries before Christ, that part of the kingdom where the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali lived was attacked by the Assyrians and the tribes were hauled off into captivity (see 2 Kings 15:29; 1 Chronicles 5:26).READ MORE
Jesus speaks through the prophet Isaiah in today's First Reading. He tells us of the mission given to Him by the Father from the womb: "'You are My servant,' He said to Me."
Servant and Son, our Lord was sent to lead a new exodus - to raise up the exiled tribes of Israel, to gather and restore them to God. More than that, He was to be a light to the nations, that God's salvation may reach to the ends of the earth (see Acts 13:46- 47).READ MORE
An "epiphany" is an appearance. In today's readings, with their rising stars, splendorous lights and mysteries revealed, the face of the child born on Christmas day appears.
Herod, in today's Gospel, asks the chief priests and scribes where the Messiah is to be born. The answer Matthew puts on their lips says much more, combining two strands of Old Testament promise - one revealing the Messiah to be from the line of David (see 2 Samuel 2:5), the other predicting "a ruler of Israel" who will "shepherd his flock" and whose "greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth" (see Micah 5:1-3).READ MORE
Today we give thanks to Mary, the Mother of God. Her response to the angel, born of a humble heart, brought us life and salvation in the Child conceived in her womb.
From before all ages, God had destined her for this decisive role in salvation history. She was to be the woman who in the fullness of time would bear God's only Son, as Paul tells us in today's Epistle. In times past, God spoke to His chosen people, the Israelites, through prophets (see Hebrews 1:1-2), and imparted His blessings upon them through His priests, as we hear in today's First Reading.READ MORE
The Church’s liturgy rings in Christmas with a joyful noise. We hear today of uplifted voices, trumpets and horns, and melodies of praise.
In the First Reading, Isaiah foretells Israel’s liberation from captivity and exile in Babylon. He envisions a triumphant homecoming to Zion marked by joyful singing. The new song in today’s Psalm is a victory hymn to the marvelous deeds done by our God and King.READ MORE
The mystery kept secret for long ages, promised through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, is today revealed (see Romans 16:25–26).
This is the “Gospel of God” that Paul celebrates in today’s Epistle—the good news that “God is with us” in Jesus Christ. The sign promised to the House of David in today’s First Reading is given in today’s Gospel. In the virgin found with child, God Himself has brought to Israel a savior from David’s royal line (see Acts 13:22–23).READ MORE
John questions Jesus from prison in today’s Gospel— for his disciples’ sake and for ours. He knows that Jesus is doing “the works of the Messiah,” foretold in today’s First Reading and Psalm. But John wants his disciples—and us—to know that the Judge is at the gate, that in Jesus our God has come to save us.READ MORE
"The kingdom of heaven is at hand," John proclaims. And the Liturgy today paints us a vivid portrait of our new king and the shape of the kingdom He has come to bring.
The Lord whom John prepares the way for in today's Gospel is the righteous king prophesied in today's First Reading and Psalm. He is the king's son, the son of David - a shoot from the root of Jesse, David's father (see Ruth 4:17).READ MORE