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Homily for the fourth Sunday of advent, year B

22 Dec 2017, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

We celebrate today, the last Sunday before Christmas, and in fact, tomorrow is Christmas, the feast we have been preparing for. The Church offers us four Sundays to prepare for this feast; in the first two weeks, the Church calls us to prepare, for the Lord is coming. On the third Sunday, the Church calls us to rejoice because the Lord is in our midst. And today, the last Sunday of Advent, we are reminded of how he who is in our midst came.

The story of how he came into the world started in the Old Testament, the prophets of old foretold his coming, and we see a reflection of those prophecies in our first reading this morning.

When God had given victories to king David and made him relax in his own house, David wished to build a house for God. He made his desire known to Prophet Nathan; I cannot be living in this beautiful palace while the ark of God dwells in a tent, I will build God a house. But that night, God sent a word to King David to tell him that he will not be the one to build Him a house, He will rather make king David a house, He will raise his offspring and establish his kingdom… And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.

After David’s reign, his son Solomon became king and built a beautiful temple for God, but it did not last forever; it was destroyed. That was not the house God said would last forever, and Solomon was not the Davidic offspring to reign forever. When it was time for that offspring to come into the word, The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you! By that visitation, Mary became pregnant with that offspring from the Davidic line who will build a house for God and reign forever.

Mary was chosen, not because of what she had done. We are not told that Mary was chosen because she was so prayerful or so dedicated; it was God’s choice to prepare her to bring forth the Davidic offspring, the Son of God who will reign forever. Mary was, and she is still full of grace; she co-operated with the grace and said yes to God. And as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ this Christmas, the Church reminds us that we too have been chosen and called to bring forth anew in the world the power and presence of Christ. Just as God’s grace empowered Mary, so also we have been called and empowered by grace; only that we have to learn to say yes like Mary, to co-operate with the grace of God.

Mary was very proud to be part of God’s household, the house God promised to build. She said; I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. Mary allowed the word of God to transform her into a living and a consecrated moving tabernacle; she carried Christ in her womb and gave him to the world. We must let the word of God transform us; the word of God and the promise of God never fails. He promised to raise an offspring from the Davidic line, and He did. He promised to build a house and an everlasting kingdom, and He did. God is faithful.

Christmas is a feast of hope, to hope and trust in God’s love for us; For God so love the word that he gave his only Son. When your mind is filled with doubt, remember the deeds of the Lord. Remember what God had done and still able to do. That was what the angel Gabriel made Mary understand; when Mary asked the angel, How can this be since I know not a man? The angel told Mary what God had done; To Mary, the angel said, …behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. In other words, if God can make Elizabeth pregnant in her old age, then there is nothing He cannot do.

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, may our celebration be for us a celebration of renewed hope in God through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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