December 20, 2020 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/122020.cfm)
We are very close now of that wonderful historical event in our Christian faith. This week is the last stretch of our joyful and hopeful waiting leading us towards that humble yet unique and crucial event in our history. Definitely, it is very important that we don’t lose sight of the great meaning of the birth of Jesus by making ourselves rooted in this Season of Advent.
We could have been stunned with a lot of concerns these days, or the pandemic could have still gripped us into fear and anxiety, or the highly commercialized Christmas celebration could intoxicate us, however, let us bring ourselves, our hearts and our minds into focus.
At the beginning of this Season of Advent, we were called to “stay awake, to be alert and to be vigilant.” We are constantly reminded of God’s surprise visits and of God’s promise to be with us. Today, on this Fourth Sunday of Advent where we also lighted the fourth candle, called as the Candle of Angels or the Candle of Love, we are being trailed into the fulfillment of God’s promise. Thus, I invite you now that we look again the readings this Sunday and discern together how God brings us into a greater awareness that each of us today take part in God’s wonderful plan.
The Second Book of Samuel tells us how God renews the covenant with David. David who felt guilty for being in the palace while the Ark of the Covenant was in a tent, was reminded of God’s favor. God promised David that his house shall be blessed. It is God who will build a house for the people. In this house, God will be our Father.
What the Prophet proclaims to us is the very hope and joyful expectation of the fulfillment of God’s promise. This covenant rests now in that relationship with God as a father. This is the first invitation today, that we take comfort in God’s promise because God is our Father.
This promise and close relationship with God is what our Psalm sings to us today. The people at that time endured a great amount of suffering. In their anguish and fear, they recalled the covenant with God and recognized the “everlasting kindness of God.” God is faithful indeed, and God is our father. This was what they felt in the midst of their suffering.
Somehow, this was a longing in their heart that they continued to hold on for this gave them hope and joy in life despite the gloomy and dark situation. Therefore, the Psalm sings, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.” This is the second invitation for us today where we are called to have a greater awareness, so that we are able to recognize the goodness of God.
Such goodness of the Lord had been fulfilled. God is certainly our Father. The Lord is faithful to our covenant. The readings all point us to what the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary. The person of Mary was not random. God planned it all along. Mary was betrothed to Joseph who was from the lineage of King David. This lineage brings us into the covenant made by God with David. Mary as well was a cousin of Elizabeth who was from the priestly lineage of Aaron. This tells us that the Messiah is indeed a royal and a priest.
Her response to God despite her confusion and fear, allowed her to be more conscious that she was loved and was called to love. That awareness of God’s presence moved Mary to participate fully in God’s plan. Mary was not passive. She was not indifferent to God’s invitation. Mary took part by making the promise of God fulfilled through her by loving concretely.
The words of Mary to the Angel Gabriel, “Let it be done to me according to your word,” was a statement of faith and also a statement of loving. As God fulfills the promise, God also asks us to participate. This is the third invitation for us today, to allow ourselves to participate in God’s wonderful plan.
Let our words, let our actions and let our very person become the embodiment of God’s presence today. The Season of Advent, after all, invites us that we become love and become loving in order to receive that greatest gift of love. Hinaut pa.