HOMILY FOR 4TH SUNDAY IN ADVENT (YEAR B)
THEME: Prepare for His coming
By: Fr. Anthony Kadavil
Chaplain, Sacred Heart Home, Mobile, AL
Today’s readings focus on the circumstances leading up to the first coming of Jesus, the event which sets the pattern for his coming to us now and at the end of time. The Gospel stresses the key role of Mary in the work of our salvation. In addition, today’s Scripture texts describe God’s promise to David and its fulfillment in Jesus, the Son of David. They also tell us that God’s preparation for the coming of Jesus was full of surprises.
The unfolding of God’s plan of salvation though history has contained many surprises. The first reading surprises us by telling of God’s promise to David that he would have a long line of royal descendants culminating in a final King, Jesus Christ.
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In the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 89), the Psalmist recalls all of God’s promises and surprises us, describing God’s promise to David and his descendants in terms of a Covenant. The second reading surprises us with Paul’s explanation of the unveiling of God’s plan for human salvation through Jesus. In today’s Gospel, the Angel Gabriel surprises Mary with seven announcements. i) Even as a virgin betrothed to Joseph, she will become a mother. ii) She will become a mother through “the Holy Spirit [Who] will come upon you, and the Power of the Most High will overshadow you.” iii) The angel continues, “Therefore, the Child to be born will be called Holy, the Son of God.” iv) She is to “name the child Jesus,” which means Savior. v) God will make Him a King and, as a descendant in the line of David, vi) “He will rule over the House of Jacob forever, and of His Kingdom there will be no end.” vii) As a Divine sign, Elizabeth, Mary’s aged barren cousin is six months pregnant, “for,” says Gabriel, “nothing shall be impossible with God!” The Gospel narrative also surprises us by reminding us that God’s promise is best fulfilled not in buildings, or even in great kings like Solomon, but rather in humble souls like Mary who trusted in God’s promise.
Life messages: 1) We need to say a courageous and generous “yes” to God: True obedience comes from a free choice made in the light of what is true and good. Such a self-surrender often requires a great deal of courage because it can involve going against the tide of social expectations. True obedience also aims at putting oneself at the service of something/Someone that is greater than oneself, accepting what God clearly wants us to do or what He wants to do through us. It is by saying, with Jesus and Mary, a wholehearted and totally unconditional “Yes” – “Fiat! May it be done in me,” to Jesus that he will be re-born in each of us, or maybe even born in me for the first time. By my saying “Yes,” Jesus will be born or re-born in others, too. 2) We need to try to learn God’s plan for our lives: The Good News in today’s Scripture message is not only that God is making provision for the salvation of His people, but also that He has a plan for each individual person. In many cases, our work for God seems rather ordinary, but each ordinary task which we carry out fits into God’s plan in ways that we cannot yet understand. God desires not only the skill of our hands and talents but the love of our hearts. The Babe in the Manger reminds us of what God has done and is still doing for us. What are we doing for Him in return? Let us show our gratitude to God by living as true followers of Christ: “Behold, here I am, Lord! I come to do Your will.”
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