Celebrant: Like the Virgin Mary, let us pray now, trusting that the Lord's promises to us will be fulfilled.
That the Church of Jesus Christ may always be joyful in proclaiming His coming, we pray to the Lord...
That Christ, the Shepherd of all nations, will guide world leaders and their peoples in the ways of peace and justice, we pray to the Lord...
That as Mary helped Elizabeth, so we may help those who are pregnant to care for their unborn children, we pray to the Lord……
That the sick and the dying may not be neglected by those around them, but loved and strengthened, we pray to the Lord...
That those who have died may be welcomed into the life that never ends, we pray to the Lord...
Father, your Son Jesus Christ offered Himself for our sake.
Grant us salvation in Him, who is the answer to all our prayers,
and who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.
"By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human being" (Vatican II, GS 22). This saving event reveals to humanity not only the boundless love of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3:16), but also the incomparable value of every human person. The Church, faithfully contemplating the mystery of the Redemption, acknowledges this value with ever new wonder. She feels called to proclaim to the people of all times this "Gospel", the source of invincible hope and true joy for every period of history. The Gospel of God's love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel” (Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.2).
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A selection of Advent-Christmas reflections, in general and also related to pro-life themes, can be found at www.priestsforlife.org/preaching/advent-christmas.htm. This material can be helpful for preaching on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
In today’s readings, we see that Christmas is linked to Easter. Christmas is the Feast of the Incarnation (not only of the event of his birth), and Christ takes on a human body precisely so as to offer the sacrifice of that body that saves the world. In fact, his sacrifice is not limited to Calvary. It begins even in the womb. “A body you have prepared for me … I come to do your will.” Even as an embryo, Jesus was offering himself to the Father, in obedience to his will and for our salvation. “A Savior is born for you.” He is a savior precisely because he bears our human nature, and has a human body like we do – a body offered on the cross and in the Eucharist.
As we see in the first reading and the Gospel, the details of his birth are carefully planned by God and foretold by his prophets. His birth is all about hope fulfilled and hope inspired. That hope outlasts his birth, and extends to us today as we work to build a world in harmony with the vision of peace, life, and love that Christmas inspires.