BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara.


(ISAIAH 7:10-14; ROMAMS 1:1-7; MATTHEW 1:18-24)

Today is the last Sunday prior to the feast of Christmas. We are at the threshold of Christmas. 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 Savior into the world; today, we catch a glimpse of how that is to be accomplished and to some extent, we can associate with the greatest joy of the Blessed Virgin Mary who awaited the coming of Baby Jesus into the world.

The prophecy in this first reading was given in 736 BC, when King Ahaz of Judah was about to be forced into an alliance, in a vain attempt to oppose the crushing military power of Babylon. Isaiah goes to him and warns him that the alliance would be fatal: he had better trust in the LORD. Isaiah promises a sign, ‘A virgin is with child and will bear a son’, indicating that within a few months, Jerusalem will be convinced that God is on their side – hence the boy will be called Emmanuel. It is important to note that this sign was given to king Ahaz only after he humbled himself by refusing to put God to test.https://www.homilyhub.com/homily-for-the-4th-sunday-of-avdvent-year-a/


Christmas is upon us. You can see the excitement on the faces of children whose eyes burn like lights on a Christmas tree. You can sense this in parents and grannies awaiting their children and grandchildren returning from colleges or from their homes in other parts of the country. There doesn’t seem to be an end to all the exciting distractions of the holiday season. But in the midst of all these exciting things we tend to overlook the real miracles present in the ordinary events of our lives. I wonder how often we take for granted the faithful love of a spouse or the loyalty of a trusted friend. I wonder if we fail to appreciate those who bring service to our lives throughout the year. I think of the couriers and trash collectors, sales agents, and hair stylists. I think of doctors and paramedics, teachers, police and firefighters, and a whole army of people that touch our lives and that we often write off because “they are paid to do that.” And even more, I wonder how often we take for granted the gift of life and the miracle of birth.

The readings this weekend invite us to take notice of these small and insignificant things. They ask us to take note of the things we overlook. It happens in Bethlehem an insignificant city, far removed from the commerce of life. Too small to be considered worthwhile. But from this city, the Savior would be born. We see a young simple lady betrothed to a poor old carpenter as qualified him by the Jews as they were questioning the source of Jesus’ wisdom (Mark 6:3), his only wealth was his righteousness according to the gospel. Most of the world missed Christ’s birth because it took place in what the world saw as an ordinary place and involved ordinary people; an expectant couple, some shabby shepherds and three neurotics who were wishing upon a star. But how wrong the world was. And how often do we miss the mystery and the wonder of the ordinary and everyday events of our lives?

The mystery of Incarnation is the basis of all the theology of Salvation. Christmas is but a few days away. Don’t miss the mystery because of the glitter. Take the time to stop long enough to let it happen. Christ is coming. God is waiting to touch our hearts. Like Joseph, let us believe what God has promised us as we celebrate the dawn of Christmas. The same sign given to Ahaz and Joseph is given to you and I. Anticipation and preparedness are the watchwords for this Sunday of Advent. In this immediate preparation for the birthday of our Lord, we delve into the meaning of him who is God’s gift to us – whose ‘advent’ or coming into our life we deeply long for. The Messiah would come as a child. He is the ‘Emmanuel,’ which means ‘God with us.’ And God is indeed in our midst. Jesus would save his people from sin. He is the radical revelation of faithful love and the fullest expression of saving life.
God is with us!



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