4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Today is the 4th and the last Sunday of Advent before Christmas, and are lit all the four candles in the Advent wreath. Indeed we are at the threshold of Christmas and the birth of Baby 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 Scripture Readings of today speak about the preparations that God made for his Son to be born among us and as one of us. In the First Reading from the 2nd Book of Samuel, King David wishes to build a house for God better than his own. He seeks some way to give thanks to God for all the blessing he received from him. But God has not finished filling his life with blessings. In the Second Reading from his Letter to the Romans, St. Paul speaks about the mystery of salvation about to be revealed and marvels at the divine plan and gives glory to God. In the Gospel Reading from St. Luke, we have the familiar passage of the Annunciation where the Angel Gabriel tells Mary that she has found favor with God and announces the divine identity of the child whom Mary is about to conceive through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Mary is invited to become the mother of God’s own Son, our Savior. In her freedom, Mary could have rejected this invitation. She could have said, “Thanks for the invitation, Lord, but what you’re asking is actually very inconvenient for me. I really wish I could do what you want, but I’m just not there yet.” This is basically the response Adam and Eve gave to God in the Garden. Thankfully, Mary gave a very different answer. She did not insult God by doubting His plan. Mary knew that God’s plan was the fullness of wisdom and wonderful. She knew that true joy and happiness lies in putting one’s life in the service of the Lord, thus she said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Her “yes” reversed Eve’s “no” and made room for Jesus to undo Adam’s fall.
“We Plan, God Laughs.” All of us can think of times when God has disrupted our plans. There are three ways in which God especially disrupts our plans. First, when we are really busy and we do not want any interruptions, God often brings us into contact with someone who needs our help. Second, we suddenly discover that certain popular and fashionable behaviors or activities (which we would like to follow) are actually against Church teaching, that they cause damage to us and to others. Third, when we are really tired, fed up, or angry, our conscience – like the angel Gabriel in today’s Gospel passage – sends us a message saying that we really need to keep working, or to do a little extra work, or to be extra patient with someone, or to hold our tongue.
These are the common ways in which God disrupts our personal plans, and invites us to cooperate in His plan of salvation. How do we respond? Do we tell God, like Eve, “thanks for the invitation, but it’s too inconvenient for me to do that”? Or to we respond like Mary, our Blessed Mother, who said “YES” to God? Mary’s “yes” lead her soul to “proclaim the greatness of the Lord,” and her spirit to “rejoice in God” her Savior.
In this final Sunday of Advent we are being invited to allow God to disrupt our plans, so that we will make room for Christ Jesus to dwell in our lives. Then we will forever sing the goodness of the Lord.
Today, we are standing right at the front door of Christmas and before we enter, Mary has been presented to us, this last Sunday of Advent to be our model. Let us follow her example of faith & holiness, humility & simplicity, obedience & surrender to the will of God, as we await the coming of our Saviour into the world and into our lives. Obviously, God’s choice of Mary to be the Mother of His Son was special. So was her response, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” But God has also chosen all of us for something special. For this, like Mary, we are also favoured. What has been our response to God’s choice of us? Consequently, like Mary, we are challenged to use our freedom and respond with our ‘yes’ to God’s call. And this is the Good News of today.
May God Bless us.