Homily for fourth Sunday of advent C

VisitationToday we celebrate the fourth Sunday of advent and the last Sunday before Christmas. The Church calls us this week to renew our commitment to wait together with Mary in hope for the birth of her Son; the savor of the world. The birth place is Bethlehem Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah. We wait for a mighty king who chose to humble himself to be born in the least of the clans of Judah, and by a little girl named Mary. No wonder Nathanael later asked if anything good could come from Nazareth (Jn. 1:46). For him, Nazareth is such an insignificant place for something good to come out.  But that is the reason for this season, that God has chosen to bring out something marvelous out of what the world considers insignificant. God has chosen to love us despite our failures, mistakes, and our “insignificant” lives.

God chose to keep the promise to save his people, to raise a stock from the house of David who will rule forever. Israel held onto the promise of God, they waited for she who is to give birth to give birth. The prophet Micah reminds us in our first reading this morning what the Lord had said, he prophesied, saying; The Lord says this: You Bethlehem Ephrathah, the least of the clans of Judah, out of you will be born for me the one who is to rule Israel; his origin goes back to the distance past, to the days of old.

God does not go back on his promise, so also is expected of us not to give up on the promises of God. Between the time of promise and its fulfillment, a whole lot may happen just like it happened in the history of Israel. They had to wait for she who is to give birth to give birth, and in the process some gave up and turned to other gods. We thank God for those who remained faithful even till death, those who held on to the promise till it was fulfilled. God’s promise never expires; no matter how long it takes, it comes to pass.

When it was time for Bethlehem, the least of the clans of Judah to produce the everlasting ruler of the house of Israel as promised by God, He sent the Angel Gabriel to she who is to give birth to inform her of God’s choice of her to be the Mother of the Messiah. Mary arose and went with hast to the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth, she hurried out of the house, and that is what characterizes this time; hurry.  Everybody is in a hurry, everybody wants to have everything done before Christmas. In hurry to fix the house, to get the cloths made, to get flowers, Christmas cards and other things necessary for the celebration of Christmas. But we need to ask yourselves this morning, what are we in a hurry to do?

Mary was in hurry, she left the house in hast to share the good news of God’s faithfulness, to celebrate what the Lord has done. That is what Christmas is all about, to share the good news of the incarnation, to celebrate God’s love, to celebrate what the Lord has done. Christmas is at hand, we must be in a hurry to fix the way, to level the mountains and fill the valise in our lives; to prepare a room for him in our hearts.

Mary hurried into the house of Zechariah, and when Elizabeth heard her greetings, the child in her womb leaped for joy. John recognized Jesus in the womb, he celebrated his presence and jumped for joy. And Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit said; Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Elizabeth recognized her Lord in the womb of his mother, and that is what Christmas is all about. It is about recognizing the presence of God made man in our homes and in our lives. If we are in a hurry to fix our homes, we must be read as well to recognize and welcome him.  Christmas is not just about the social celebration, but a celebration of the recognition of God made man in our world and in our lives. It is a celebration of God’s faithfulness.

In the old woman Elizabeth and the young Mary we see the Old covenant and the New covenant meet; the Old covenant embraced the New covenant.The old and the new In both women God expressed his faithfulness, that he will never go back on his word. The promise of old is fulfilled in our time.

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, let us open up to the faithfulness of God and recognize the presence and authority of Christ in our lives.

Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as pastor in two different parishes, he was one time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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