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Fourth Sunday of Advent – Cycle B

19 December 2020

Reflecting on Luke 1: 26-38

I have a very nerdy obsession. I love figuring out how the Gospel and the First Reading are related. I came to this fairly late, I think. The new lectionary, a direct child of Vatican II, debuted on the First Sunday of Advent, 1969. I’ll bet it was a full year later when, after listening to the Gospel, I turned to my dad and said, “Wait a minute. Did anybody ever notice that the First Reading and the Gospel are kind of connected?”

Probably because I discovered this all on my own (and it only took me a year!) I’ve always liked looking at the two readings and coming to my own conclusions about how they are connected. It’s like that time we were in the movie theater watching “Music Man” and my mom started giggling. Marian the Librarian was singing, slowly and thoughtfully, “Goodnight, My Someone,” while Harold Hill was singing, fast and fortissimo, “Seventy-Six Trombones.”

“What’s funny?” I asked. “Listen,” she said. “They’re the same song.” Did you ever notice that? I loved discovering that. One was fast, one slow, one soft, one loud, but the same song. The connection between those two readings—with the responsorial psalm as the light illuminating the theme of both readings—is similar. They aren’t the same, obviously, but they match. Or, as Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

So don’t miss the great, profound rhyme in the readings today. King David wants to build a house for the Ark that traveled with the Hebrews those forty desert years. And the Holy Spirit wants to make Mary the Ark for the One who travels with us. Get it? It’s the same song.

Has Mary ever served as the conduit – or Ark of encounter with Jesus for you?

Kathy McGovern ©2020

Advent - Cycle B

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