The second reading of the Fourth Sunday of Advent, this year, comes from St Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News I preach, and in which I proclaim Jesus Christ, the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages, but now so clear that it must be broadcast to pagans everywhere to bring them to the obedience of faith. This is only what scripture has predicted, and it is all part of the way the eternal God wants things to be. He alone is wisdom; give glory therefore to him through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.
St Paul offers a timely reminder that it is not enough for us to know Jesus, we – and all the world – must learn to live in, with and through him. In the child born at Bethlehem we have the opportunity of receiving again the gift of ourselves, and the power to live that gift.
Perhaps today we can pray with Pope Francis that the birth of the Redeemer, and our celebration of it this Christmas, may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Photograph is of statue of St Paul in the Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls, Rome, showing the medallions of Pope Emeritus Benedict and of Pope Francis. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.