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Sunday, December 18, 2016

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-14
Romans 1:1-7
Psalm 24:1-6
Matthew 1:18-24

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christmas by faith, not by sight (2 cor 5:7)

"When Joseph awoke he did as the angel of the Lord had directed him." —Matthew 1:24

Joseph believed that Mary was pregnant not because of sexual relations, but by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20). He believed this because of God's grace given him in a dream about an angel bearing the message of the virgin-conception (Mt 1:20). Many people would consider Joseph one of the biggest fools ever, but we recognize him as one of the greatest men of faith in history.

To not divorce himself from the first Christmas (see Mt 1:19), Joseph needed great faith — a faith that would move much more than mountains (see Mt 17:20). The Lord gave him this super-faith. Like Joseph, to receive Christ this Christmas season, we will also need the gift of faith. Possibly, we will require great faith. We need the Advent gift of faith before we can receive the gift of Jesus' Christmas coming.

Ask the Lord for a greater gift of faith (Lk 17:5). In these next few days, read, pray, and study the teachings of the Church and the Bible. This will help you hear God and grow in faith (Rm 10:17). The Lord wants your faith in Him to become stronger and deeper than ever. Let Him gift you with great and greater faith.

Prayer:  Father, "I believe! Help my lack of faith!" (Mk 9:24, our transl.)

Promise:  "Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!" —Is 7:11

Praise:  "O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, Who showed Yourself to Moses in the burning bush, Who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out Your mighty hand to set us free."

Reference:  (For a related teaching on Pride and Faith, order, listen to, or download our CD 64-1 or DVD 64 on our website or order our tape on audio AV 64-1 or video V 64.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 10, 2016

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