Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent Year C
Theme: OUR CHRISTMAS MOVEMENTS!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
Homily for Sunday December 19 2021
*Micah 5:1-4, Heb 10:5-10, Lk 1:39-45.
Christmas is a season of movements; heavenly and earthly movements, one for the salvation of man and the other for the destruction of man. The heavens remind earth of the great event of God’s movement from heaven to earth over 2000 years ago while the demons remind earth of their disaffection with this salvific project.
We need at this last Sunday before Christmas to be sensitive about these spiritual and carnal movements going on at this Yuletide season and be conscious of the fact that our input and output in response to these spiritual pulsations affect our destiny in no little way.
B. THE MESSIANIC PROMISES
The Old Testament Prophet, Micah spoke vividly about the coming of the Messianic era when he said: ‘From you, Bethlehem, Ephrata, the least of the clans of Judah, out of you will be born for me the one who is to rule over Israel… The Lord is therefore going to abandon them until the time when she who is to give birth gives birth’. Micah 5:1-4.
5 promises of the Messianic era come out clearly in Isaiah’s prophesy: (i) Longevity (ii) Prosperity (iii) Divine favour (iv) Divine protection (v) Peace, Is 65:17-25. This foretaste of the kingdom of God is made possible through righteousness and peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit and not through eating and drinking, Rom 14:17.
C. THE 7 MOVEMENTS IN FULFILMENT OF THIS PROMISE
There are 7 movements of faith in obedience to the Word of God that led to the fulfillment of the promises of the Messianic age;
(i) Angel Gabriel moved from heaven to Mary’s house in Nazareth, Lk 1:26.
(ii) Mary moved from Nazareth to Elizabeth’s house at Judah, Lk 1 :39.
*The biblical scholar, Lauretin likenes this to the Old Testament movement of the Ark of the Covenant from the City of David to the town of Obed Edom, 2 Sam 6:9. The same statement made by David was repeated by Elizabeth: ‘How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?’ – The same experience of radiation of joy. Mary’s greeting was both psychologically and spiritually efficacious.
(iii) John the Baptist moved in her mother’s womb and Elizabeth responded /exploded in praises, Lk 1 :41.
(iv) Joseph and Mary moved from Nazareth to Bethlehem for census where the birth of the Messiah took place, Lk 2:4.
(v) The Angel moved from Mary’s house in Nazareth to the Shepherds in the forest who also moved to Bethlehem, Lk 2:9.
(vi) The star moved to a strategic position and the 3 wise men followed suit, Matt 2:2.
(vii) The Angel came back to Joseph who moved his family from Bethlehem to Egypt in order to protect the new born child from Herod’s evil plans, Matt 2:13.
D. OUR CHRISTMAS MOVEMENTS
Caveat : Our Christmas movements are predominantly not movements of faith. They are;
1. Business movements; Business travels and transactions, homeward travels, clandestine movements for robbery and stealing, etc.
2. Social movements; Christmas parties and festivities, visitations, youth match – making and sexual escapades, Christmas football matches, political rallies, visit of friends /exchange of gifts, etc.
3. Religious movements; Movements for worship, town crusade prayers for village deliverance, Christmas confessions, desert prayer and revival fellowships, church barzars and launchings/ luncheons, etc.
In all these, may our movements be Christocentric. Young girls should be properly connected for marriage and young men linked up for good jobs.
There should be peace talks, reconciliation gatherings, peace conferences sharing the grace from the ‘Christmas Prince of Peace’. Our baazar movements should be spiritual acts of Thanksgiving to God, not an ostentatious display of affluence . In all these, let our movements be in obedience to God’s Word for the fulfillment of the promises of the Messianic age.
E. THE BLESSINGS OF MARY
After the annunciation, the Part II of the Redemption story began with Mary as one of the major actors. Remember the promise of today’s 1st reading: ‘I am going to abandon them until the time when she who is going to give birth gives birth’.
*The origin of the ‘Hail Mary’ came as a result of developments in Marian theology (Mariology) based on deep reflections on these 3 biblical blessings/ statements made in today’s gospel with their theological implications:
1. MARY’S HYPERDULIA; Elizabeth told her: ‘Of all women, you are the most blessed’. ‘Hyperdulia’ is the name given by the Church to this level of honour.
2. MARY AS THEOTOKOS; Elizabeth, led by the Spirit, also told her: ‘How can I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? By becoming the mother of Jesus Christ who is God, she has been promoted to being the Mother of God.
3. MARY AS MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACES; Elizabeth recognized her as the highest human being in the order of grace, endowed with the highest degree of faith: ‘Blessed is she who believed that the promises made her by the Lord would be fulfilled’. And from that moment she became the highest intercessor and mediatrix of grace for mankind.
She was endowed with the following outstanding virtues; 1. Humility, 2. Love, 3. Faith, 4. Purity and 5. Endurance.
Let our happiness and prosperity be shared during this holy season. Let us stop turning Christmas into a period of sin but let it be a period of prayer, visits, reconciliation and peace talks. Let it be a period when the poor are remembered and the sick are visited and the prisoners are set free. Let it be a period of extended family communion. The message today is: Let all our Christmas movements be Christocentric.
Happy Christmas dear friends!