Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent Year B
Theme: A DIVINE MASTER PLAN
By: Fr. Gerald M. Musa
Homily for Sunday December 20 2020
When people get married everyone expects pregnancy to come right away, and when there is a delay in this expectation, anxiety and questions begin to set in until a pregnancy test proves to be positive. The month of December is a time when we celebrate the delivery of the infant Jesus. It is a time also to think of the mystery surrounding pregnancy and childbirth.
I write with a heart full of joy and thanksgiving to God for Njideka and her husband who prayed for 11 years requesting for the gift of a child. After marriage, this young lady remained a mummy-to-be for this number of years. During these 11 years she and her husband made every effort – medically and spiritually to realize their dream of having a child in the first few years of their marriage. It appeared their efforts were not yielding any fruitful results. Some people offered them all kinds of suggestions to go to different places in search of solutions, while close family, friends and well wishers continued to support this lovely couple with incessant prayers. Through these years of trial, some of those who prayed with them lost patience with God and their hope grew thinner as the years rolled by; others questioned God’s goodness, but yet some others remained steadfast in their prayers and were strengthened by faith and hope.
It was only recently that this couple received an answer to their prayers and this positive response to their prayers came at a time when they had totally resigned to God’s will. The birth of their newborn baby became a sign to them that the Lord was aware of their inner pains and struggles. For God has pronounced in ages past that he is close to those who suffer any kind of pain and he says: “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born” (Isaiah 66:9).
The experience of Njideka and her husband tells us that God visits his people in moments of anxiety and uncertainty. For many years king David had to fight battles against his enemies. Some people in his kingdom lost hope that their kingdom was going to be destroyed by surrounding enemies; some others kept hoping and praying for the survival of the kingdom. They overcame all bitter opposition and fierce battles until king David was settled in his palace and enjoyed a period of peace. During the reign of peace David planned to build a house for the Lord. He was worried that he dwelt in an expensive house of Cedar, while the ark of God dwelt in a tent. God altered the plan of David. God did not allow David to build a house for him, rather God assured David he would build a house for him and not just a temporary palace, but a power structure that will accommodate his offspring who will be future kings. Through this promise God gave to David more than what he asked for and imagined. As it is written, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things, which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
God has a master plan for the whole of humanity. A Master Plan is a comprehensive long-term plan for progress and development of people. God’s master plan is clear in the stories we find in Sacred Scriptures. The master plan begins with creation story to the call of Abraham and continues with Isaac Jacob, Joseph and the experience in the land of Egypt. The plan extends to the call of Moses and to the journey to the Promised Land, and the presentation of the 10 Commandments (Decalogue). In later years, the prophets announced the birth of a saviour who will save Israel from the shadows of death and guide them into the way of peace.
Archangel Gabriel was sent to reveal God’s Master plan for the world to Mary and she responded positively to God’s divine plan. She accepted to be earthenware, which was to contain a treasure – the saviour of the world. Thus she served as vessel, ark, temple, and dwelling place of God.
Socio-Political Situation at the Birth of Jesus: The Angel’s announcement to Mary came at a time when the world was surrounded by a cloud of darkness and was longing for light. In addition, at the time of Jesus birth people were confused about the practice of religion and so were enveloped in a kind of spiritual darkness. The Roman conquerors found it convenient adopting and worshipping Greek gods and goddesses. We can relate the socio-political situation at the birth of Jesus to the socio-political condition of our country and the world today.
Globally, we shall not forget the year 2020 in a hurry because of the number of people who died as a result of the Corona Virus Epidemic. In Nigeria, this year can be described as a year of chronic anxiety and insecurity. Boko Haram, armed Bandits and kidnappers are having a field day unleashing terror, killing innocent people with impunity and kidnapping citizens. What is God’s plan for our beloved nation and what plan does he have in redesigning our current insecure landscape in the year 2021 and in the long term? Our constant prayer is “Lord, show us a sign of your favour” (Psalm 86:17). Someone wrote: “Dear God, if today I lose my hope, please remind me that your plans are better than my dreams.”
4th Sunday of Advent; 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38.