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Newsletter of Mater Dei Seminary
December 2003

Other articles in this newsletter:
Moral Theology: How Soon is Quam Primum?
Caveat Lector! Let the Reader Beware!

Dear friends and benefactors,

As Advent is now upon us, it would be spiritually advantageous for us, among the various exercises of piety, to meditate on the prophecies in the Old Testament which foretold the coming of the Messias. These often occur in the liturgy for this season and our Holy Mother the Church presents them to us as reminders of how our Divine Savior so perfectly fulfilled these prophecies and also of how God is most faithful to his promises.

Among the many prophets of the Old Testament, there are four who are most important — Jeremias, Isaias, Daniel, and Ezechiel. When we read the prophecies, it is amazing to consider that long before the coming of the Messias, great details were revealed about His Person and the time and place and circumstances of His Birth, Life, Death, and Resurrection.

The prophet Micheas had foretold that the Messias would be born in Bethlehem: “Thou Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda; out of thee shall come forth unto me He Who is to be the Ruler in Israel: and His going forth is from the beginning unto the days of eternity” (Mich. 5:2).

After the Jews returned from their captivity and began to rebuild the temple, the elders who had seen the former temple began to weep because the new temple would not be as large nor as beautiful. The prophet Aggeus reassured them that in this new temple “the desired of all nations shall come and fill it with glory” (Aggeus 2:8-10.) It was in this temple that our Lord had preached and which was later destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans as Christ had foretold.

When the Messias was to come, the Jews would no longer be an independent kingdom. This we find in the book of Genesis when Jacob, while blessing his sons before his death, said to Juda. “The sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda, till He come that is to be sent, and to Him shall be the expectation of the nations” (Genesis 49:10). From that time on the tribe of Juda was the leading tribe. King David and his successors were of the tribe of Juda. Zorobahel was also of this tribe when he brought back the Jews from captivity. The Jews were under the rule of the Maccabees who also belonged to Juda. In the year 39 B.C. the Jews were deprived of their sovereignty and the Romans placed Herod the Great, a foreigner and pagan, on the throne. As the Jews were aware of this prophecy, they looked for a Redeemer at this time. This was the reason why Herod was so alarmed when the Magi inquired of the newborn King of the Jews (Matthew 2:3).

Daniel the prophet foretold that from the rebuilding of Jerusalem (453 B.C.) until the public life of the Messias, there would be 69 weeks of years, and until his death, 69 1/2 weeks of years. 69 1/2 weeks of years added to 453 B.C. come out to 33 1/2 A.D.

Isaias the prophet spoke of the birth of the Messias: “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel (God with us)” (lsaias 7:14). And furthermore, this same prophet foretold that the Messias would be both God and Man: “A Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace” (Isaias 9:6).

At the coming of the Messias, a new star was to appear as foretold by the prophet Balaam (Numbers 24:17). The Messias would be adored by kings of distant lands who would present him with gifts (Psalms 71:10). At the time of the Messias’ birth, many children would be put to death. This had been foretold by Jeremias the prophet (Jeremias 31:15). The prophet Osee predicted that the Messias would have to flee into Egypt and would return again (Osee 11:11).

The more one reads the Old Testament, the more one sees how wonderfully God prepared the world for this greatest event in the history of mankind. During this Advent, as we spiritually prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of Christ, let us ponder the exhortation found in the novena
for Christmas: “Holy Church wills that the celebration of the mystery of Our Lord’s incarnation should bring us the grace that we may live a new life, more exempt from sin and imperfections, to ourselves and creatures. She should have us understand above all that Christ, in exchange for the humanity which He takes from us, wishes to make us partakers of his Divinity by sanctifying grace, that He may take more complete possession of us. This will be the grace of his new Divine birth in us, which is the true meaning and spirit of Christmas.”

To all of our friends and benefactors, we wish a very grace-filled Advent and a truly blessed Christmas!

With my prayers and blessing,
Most Rev. Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI

Other articles in this newsletter:
Moral Theology: How Soon is Quam Primum?
Caveat Lector! Let the Reader Beware!

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Printed copies of Adsum, a publication by the seminarians of Mater Dei Seminary for the reading enjoyment of friends and benefactors, are sent free of charge to all who request it. Most issues also contain photos of recent events involving the seminarians. If you would like to put on this mailing list, please use this form.

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