Fourth Sunday Of Advent, Year B.
2Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14-16 – Romans 16:25-27 – Luke 1:26-38.
Dear Friends in Christ, this is the 4th and final Sunday of Advent. The excitement about the coming Solemnity of Christmas is intensifying despite the present pandemic precautions which we are enduring. Today we celebrate God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His promises. God never reneges on His covenant with His people (Gen 17:7). Everything in it is accomplished (Is 55:10f). Echoing the Psalmist, our Reflection is a paean of praise to the everlasting love of God, His everlasting love revealed in His covenant with His servant David (2Sam 7:16) and fulfilled in Mary, the Ark of the new and everlasting Covenant (cf. Mt 26:28).
In the 1st reading, David, in appreciation of God’s love for him, wanted to do something for God by building a ’house’(a temple) where the Ark of the Covenant would be housed. God, however, did not permit him to build it. Instead, God made a promise to David and sealed it with a covenant: “…I will preserve the offspring of your body after you… I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to me… your throne will be established forever”. The fulfilment of this promise and covenant is what we look forward to celebrating at Christmas. What we are celebrating is the moment when God sent His Son, fully God and fully Man, both as a descendant of David and also as one of us! This promise was also announced in the gospel reading.
The episodes tracing the genealogy of Jesus (in Mt 1:2-17 from Abraham to Joseph down the Davidic line, and in Lk 3:23-38 from Joseph ‘who was supposed’ [v.23] to be Jesus’ father, back to Adam), were to underline the truths that Jesus was descended from King David and is the Son of God. The question arises: why does St. Luke stress that Joseph was only ‘supposed to be’ Jesus’ father instead of saying that he ‘was’ the father? The answer is that the Davidic line had become corrupted by the curse of Jeconiah (Jer 22:24), which meant that it was impossible for the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah, to be of David’s heritage. God’s promise to be with King David’s lineage reached its climax with the Annunciation. Because of God’s promise to David, Mary was conceived without original sin. She was ‘full of grace’, which enabled her gracious ‘fiat’ to be made to God through God’s own faithfulness. St. Matthew’s punchline is that Mary was a virgin, that she was betrothed to Joseph of the Davidic line but not yet married to him, that the Child was conceived in her (Mt 1:16) by the power of the Most High, God the Holy Spirit, and hence Joseph was Jesus’ foster-father.
In the 2nd reading, St. Paul gives glory to God for His gift to His people of the strength necessary to live out the gospel message. That gospel is the revelation of Jesus Christ as The Son of God, who was promised as a successor to King David but hidden from human understanding until the right time (1Cor 4:5, cf. Mt 11:25). As the season of Christmas draws near, let us give glory to God for what His love accomplishes in each one of us, in our world today and throughout the course of salvation history.
God loves us so much! Like David, who himself was dearly loved by God, what place are we making for God in our hearts and our lives? It pleases God when we look beyond ourselves and seek to do something to please Him and to benefit our fellow human beings. This season is a season when, moved by love, we – like David – long to do something good for God. The good things that we do manage to accomplish for God in our neighbour are the produce of our covenant with God; they are seeds planted for a great harvest in eternity.
However, we should never do good with a view to getting a reward. David was comfortable in his house and was enjoying relief from the attention of the enemies of the people of God, which is why he felt moved to do something for God in return. He wanted to do something because he felt it was the right thing to do. We should always think of doing what is right. Ask yourself: what is the right thing that I need to do for other people, for my family, for our parish, and for my neighbours, to make their life better? Let each one of us take very great care in our preparations for Christmas, dotting our ‘I’s and crossing our ‘T’s.
Finally, remember that the archangel advised Our Lady that ‘there is nothing impossible with God’ (Lk 1:37). When He comes, there is no gift that He cannot bestow on His people if He wills it. Take time out to recall the action of God’s love in your life and the many episodes in which God’s love has been clearly manifested. Recall too God’s manifold gifts to you. Ask yourself what you have done with these gifts, or what you are going to do with them. Do you allow the Holy Spirit to inspire you so that you can fulfil His purpose in you, as Mary did? Are you genuinely accepting of God’s will for you? Like Mary, if you commit to doing God’s will, the impossible will become possible in an amazing way. Let each one of us open ourselves up to God’s grace and graciously declare like Our Lady, “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let what you have said be done to me.” Amen. Peace be with you.