Homily for fourth Sunday of advent C21 Dec 2018, by Sermons in
Today we celebrate the fourth Sunday of advent and the last Sunday before Christmas. The Church calls us this week to renew our commitment to waiting together with Mary in hope for her Son’s birth, the savior of the world. The birthplace 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 Judah’s clans 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 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, raise a stock from David’s house, who will rule forever. Israel held onto the promise of God; they waited for she who is 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 distant past, to the days of old.
God does not go back on his promise, so it is also expected of us not to give up on God’s promises. Between the time of promise and its fulfillment, a whole lot may happen just like it happened in Israel’s history. They had to wait for she who is 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 Zechariah and Elizabeth’s house, 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 a hurry to fix the house, get the clothes made, get flowers, Christmas cards, and other things necessary to celebrate Christmas. But we need to ask ourselves this morning, what are we in a hurry to do?
Mary was in a 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, which is what Christmas is all about. It is about recognizing the presence of God made man in our homes and our lives. If we are in a hurry to fix our homes, we must be ready 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 our lives. It is a celebration of God’s faithfulness.
In the older woman Elizabeth and the young Mary, we see the Old Covenant and the New covenant meet; the Old covenant embraced the New covenant. 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.