The Fourth Sunday of Advent begins with another of Isaias’s prophecies as the Introit: “Rorate caeli...Drop down dew, ye heavens from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One. Let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior.” (Is. 45:8)

St. John the Baptist, Herald of the Lord, calls to us in the Gospel (1962 Missal), invoking Isaias: “And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins, as it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord: make straight His paths: every valley shall be filled: and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain: and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

And our Blessed Lady, Mary Immaculate, greets us in the Gospel Lesson for the 1970 Missal (St. Luke, the Annunciation) and at the Offertory for the 1962 Missal, with the Angelic Salutation of Gabriel: Ave Maria gratia plena… Hail, Mary, full of grace.

Our three “Advent Preachers” over these last Four Sundays—Isaias, John the Baptist, Mary Immaculate—come together to usher us into the joyful and light-filled days of the Christmas and Epiphany season now that we are completing our time of spiritual preparation. 

The contrast between the lightsome mysteries of the Christmas celebration and the Present Trial, with its intensifying contagion, is stark indeed. We have to make conscientious effort not to let the things of eternity be displaced by passing tribulation. (For example, not reducing the Advent theme of Christ’s coming to a metaphor for the arrival of a vaccine.) 

Christ’s Advent is not a metaphor for anything of this world. Rather, let the things of this passing world be construed to serve as imperfect metaphors which point us to the great and immutable truths contained in the Divine Revelation: God in Jesus Christ appeared on earth in human flesh without becoming any less God. 

Let us pray on this Rorate Sunday for the intention of our parish’s celebration of Christmas this year: in particular that we might continue to be protected from the spread of COVID in our midst and that we might be able to peacefully worship the good God in our beautiful parish church. 

Fr. Higgins

About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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"If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter."
- St. Therese of Lisieux (+1897)

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