HOMILY FOR (4TH) SUNDAY IN ADVENT (YEAR B)
THEME: Advent preparation
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
The central goal of our Advent preparation is to make ourselves ready, not just for the coming of Christ in glory at the end of time but also for the celebration of the festivities marking His coming in human form over 2000 years ago. Guided by the light of the Holy Spirit, this goal is achievable by consciously focusing on the person of Christ and by living out in our lives the values He stands for; the values He made accessible to us by the merits of His incarnation. May the coming feasts bring us peace, joy and integral spiritual growth; Amen
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With the Liturgy of the Fourth Sunday of Advent, our Advent preparation is gradually drawing to a close and the readings on their part are gradually unfolding to us the reality proximately before us; the reality of the identity of the person of the Christmas Feast and the spiritual relevance of the celebrations for the commemoration of the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has always made Himself manifest through the course of human history. In fact, He is the God of history, because without God, human history loses both its taste and its relevance. It is essentially the Act of God that makes history memorable. Human beings positively distinguish themselves through this history with respect to their cooperation to this Divine Act. This was the case with David. The First Reading (2 Sam 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16) recounts one aspect of David’s life and kingly acts that radically distinguished him among all the Kings of Israel; “look, I am living in a house of cedar while the Ark of God dwells in a tent.” Like David, it is possible to build a dwelling place for God in our time. Whenever we love sincerely, wherever we do works of charity, we are building a dwelling place for God. David’s decision to build a befitting house for God attracted God’s inestimable benevolence upon him and his lineage. Not only was David reckoned as the man after God’s own heart, God made him a promise: “I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure… Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.” This promise of God was the background for the expectation of the establishment of the Davidic Dynasty and the coming of a Davidic King and Messiah who would liberate God’s people from every form of slavery. All of the prophets prophetically re-affirmed the truth and perennial relevance of this promise of God to David. In the person of Christ, this promise was most eminently fulfilled such that Christ was properly identified as the Son of David and as the King of kings who’s Kingdom will have no end. As we approach the coming feasts, it is truly right and just that we acclaim with Saint Paul in the Second Reading “glory to Him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the God 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.” The revelation of this greatest of all Good News is the content of angel Gabriel’s message to Mary.
Mary’s case was very similar to that of David with respect to their cooperation with God in His self-revelation in history. Even with the complexity of the Angel’s message in the Gospel Reading (Luke 1:26-38), Mary offered her yes to God; the yes that changed her story for ever and also changed the fate of fallen humanity and the very substance of history for ages unending; “I am the handmaid of the Lord, said Mary, let what you have said be done to me.” Our yes to God changes our story integrally and positively directs the course of history. At Christmas, we are not only celebrating God’s victory in His benevolent act to rescue humanity from the dungeon of destruction. We are celebrating also those who distinctively cooperated with God through the course of these events like David and the Virgin Mary. Their example and style of life remain models for us to follow in our relationship with God. Christmas is always relevant because at Christmas we celebrate God’s love for us and His intervention in our story as was never heard before. Further still, Christmas becomes much more relevant when we see ourselves in it; when we reflect on it and relate with it as our story; the story of God’s exchange of love with us; from God to us and from us to God. As the Christmas Feast draws closest, the Liturgy invites us to evaluate our response to God’s Act that is constantly manifest through history. Our response to what God does in History determines the value we impress through the course of History and the legacy we may likely live behind.
Heavenly Father, as we look forward to celebrating Your definite intervention in the History of Salvation with the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us by the power of the Holy Spirit to always place Christ at the centre of our undertakings in this world; Amen.
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