Webmaster -- Church of Saint John the Evangelist
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Image: "Visitation of Mary" (1528-1529), Jacopo da Pontormo, 1494-1556, painting (detail). SPfarrkirche, Carmignano, Italy.

Theme of the Day

Cradle and cross are inextricably connected on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Between a lovely tribute to the little town of Bethlehem and Mary’s magnificent song of praise, the letter to the Hebrews reminds us in no uncertain terms that Christ’s advent is for “the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” It is the kind of tension in which the church always lives as when in holy communion—with high delight—“we proclaim the Lord’s death.”

The Collect for Sunday

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that binds us, that we may receive you in joy and serve you always, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer Intentions

The prayers of the church are offered especially:

  • for the needs of the world, especially at this time global pandemic;
  • for all medical personnel and caregivers, especially for those who work with those who are most ill;
  • for those who are sick;
  • for research workers and scientists and medical personnel who are working to protect us, provide adequate testing, and to develop, deliver and administer vaccines;
  • for the safety of front line workers;
  • for those who are particularly vulnerable to this virus;
  • for those who are isolated and anxious;
  • for the healing of racial inequality, prejudice, bigotry, systemic racism, injustice, and hatred;
  • for the First Peoples of this land and for the work of healing and reconcilation; 
  • for all who grieve for lost children, for the survivors of Indian Residential Schools, and for generational healing;
  • for those who are hungry and homeless;
  • for those who are unemployed or underemployed;
  • for all those who find Christmas difficult, especially those who mourn, who are lonely, or suffer from depression;
  • for Elizabeth our Queen and all those set in authority under her, for Justin, the Prime Minister of Canada and all members of parliament; Doug, the Premier of Ontario and all members of the legislature; Fred, the mayor of Hamilton and those who serve city council; for the First Nations of this land, for elders, chiefs, and band councils; for all in civil authority and for all citizens that we might work together for the common good;
  • for the whole church: for Susan, our Diocesan Bishop; for David and Brian, our priests; for Tom, our intern; for all bish­ops, priests and dea­cons; and for all the bap­tized: that God may accomplish God's work in and through us for the sake of the world;
  • for all for whom we have been asked to pray, that God will bring them healing and wholeness;
  • for those who are dying and all those who have departed from this life and are at rest.

In our cycles of prayer:

  • In the Worldwide Anglican Com­mun­ion: for The Church of the Province of Central Africa, and the people of that province of the church.
  • In the Diocese of Niagara: St. Saviour, The Brock Memorial Church, Queenston, the Reverend Janet Cashin, Priest in Charge, and the people of that parish.
  • In our neighbourhood: for our local schools—Earl Kitchener, St. Joseph’s, Ryerson, and Westdale—their administrators, faculty, and students and for all who teach and all who learn in our neighbourhood.
  • For one another, especially for Olga, Yvonne, Leslie, Roger, Bonnie, Norman, and Sue.

Prayer requests to be included on the following Sunday can be submitted here by the Thursday morning before.

The Readings for Sunday

First Reading: Micah 5:2-5a

The prophet Micah, having pronounced judgment upon Judah, speaks of a future shepherd-king who, like David, will come from the small town of Bethlehem. (Ephrathah refers to the area around Bethlehem.) This king will restore Israel and bring peace. New Testament writers understood this passage to be referring to Jesus.

2But 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.
3Therefore 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.
4And 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;
5aand he shall be the one of peace.

Psalm: Luke 1:46b-55

You, Lord, have lifted up the lowly. (Lk. 1:52)

46bMy soul proclaims the greatness | of the Lord,
  47my spirit rejoices in | God my Savior,
48for you, Lord, have looked with favor on your | lowly servant.
  From this day all generations will | call me blessed:
49you, the Almighty, have done great | things for me
  and holy | is your name.
50You have mercy on | those who fear you,
  from generation to | generation. R
51You have shown strength | with your arm
  and scattered the proud in | their conceit,
52casting down the mighty | from their thrones
  and lifting | up the lowly.
53You have filled the hungry | with good things
  and sent the rich | away empty.
54You have come to the aid of your | servant Israel,
  to remember the prom- | ise of mercy,
55the promise made | to our forebears,
  to Abraham and his chil- | dren forever. R

Psalm (alternate): Psalm 80:1-7

Let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved. (Ps. 80:7)
1Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph | like a flock;
  shine forth, you that are enthroned up- | on the cherubim.
2In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, | and Manasseh,
  stir up your strength and | come to help us. R
3Restore | us, O God;
  let your face shine upon us, and we | shall be saved.
4O Lord| God of hosts,
  how long will your anger fume when your | people pray?
5You have fed them with the | bread of tears;
  you have given them bowls of | tears to drink.
6You have made us the derision | of our neighbors,
  and our enemies laugh | us to scorn.
7Restore us, O | God of hosts;
  let your face shine upon us, and we | shall be saved. R

Second Reading: Hebrews 10:5-10

The author of Hebrews uses the image of religious sacrifice to convey the significance of Christ’s coming. Through obedient acceptance of God’s will, Christ allows his own body to become the greatest sacrifice of all, one through which we are made a holy people.

5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
 “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
  but a body you have prepared for me;
6in burnt offerings and sin offerings
  you have taken no pleasure.
7Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’
  (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).”
8When 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), 9then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. 10And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Gospel: Luke 1:39-45 [46-55]

Elizabeth, John’s mother, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, are two women filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. In Elizabeth’s inspired greeting and Mary’s song of praise we hear of a saving God who remembers, scatters, lifts up, and fulfills all things.

39In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” [
 46And Mary said,
 “My soul magnifies the Lord,
  47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
  and holy is his name.
50His mercy is for those who fear him
  from generation to generation.
51He has shown strength with his arm;
  he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
  and lifted up the lowly;
53he has filled the hungry with good things,
  and sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
  in remembrance of his mercy,
55according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
  to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”]

This Week

  • Monday: Advent Feria
  • Tuesday: Advent Feria
  • Wednesday: Advent Feria
  • Thursday: Advent Feria
  • Friday: Advent Feria; Christmas Eve: The Birth of the Lord
  • Saturday: The Birth of the Lord: Christmas Day (Principal Feast)

For readings appropriate to the day visit here.