HOMILY THEME: God can use anyone.

Old Micah 5:1-4
Psalm 79:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 Rv4
New Hebrews 10:5-10
Gospel Luke 1:39-44

Beloved in Christ, today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent – the final Sunday before Christmas. Christmas is only a few days away. The birth of Jesus is now imminent. In a few days’ time we will be celebrating the memory of that great event. Throughout Advent, we have heard of God’s promise to send a liberator – a saviour into the world; today, we catch a glimpse of how that is to be accomplished. Today’s Mass prepares us for the Christmas celebration. Each of the three readings takes up a different aspect of this great mystery to help us in our understanding and in our personal preparation.

The persons in today’s liturgy show that God often surprises the obedient with what He will do. If we follow their example, we can show our worthiness of God’s coming to us in Christ at Christmas by arising from our sloth and becoming, like Micah, Mary, and Elizabeth, each in our different ways as they were different in theirs, God—bearers in our world that needs God so much.

In our first reading today, the Lord, speaking through the prophet Micah, says “the least of the clans of Judah, out of you will be born for me the one who is to rule over Israel.” It was from Judah, in the lowly town of Nazareth, in that unexpected place that God chose Mary to bear his Son.

God can use anyone. Anyone can be holy. Anyone can be a saint. But first, we have to change. We have to allow God to take possession of us as He did Mary.

How we live our life can have a tremendous influence on others around us. We have the power to bring Christ’s love, compassion, mercy, and friendship to those around us, particularly to those who are close to us. John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb recognized Jesus in Mary’s womb and was filled with joy. Others around us can recognize the presence of Christ within us and also be filled with joy. We can bring to them what their hearts are searching for.

So what does the story of Mary and Elizabeth in the gospel passage have to do with us? Well, Mary was carrying within her the Christ child. We, too, carry within us the presence of Christ. That’s why we pay such attention to Mary. She models who we are and what God is doing inside us. The Church is pregnant with the presence of Christ, something that we are about to celebrate in Holy Communion. And since the Church is not simply a building or an institution, since the Church is the Body of Christ and you and I constitute together the Mystical Body of Christ, we, like Mary, carry within us the presence of Christ. Not only that, but we carry within us the presence of Christ not just for our own sake, but in order to share Him with others. We bear Christ within us that we may bring Him to others in the world around us.

The presence of Christ in our midst leads us into joy, because the one we expect is already here. On this final Sunday of Advent, God through the prophet Micah promises a unique Saviour, born in David’s town of Bethlehem; a Saviour who will stand and feed his flock and establish peace.

I hope and pray that when we say yes, and perhaps because we say yes, to whatever it is God is asking of us we will also be able to say, with Mary, “My soul magnifies the Lord for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya

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