4th Sunday of Advent
Every few years, we celebrate the end of the Advent season on Christmas Eve. The last was in 2017, and the next will be in 2028. In a few hours, we will gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We feel the excitement in anticipation of God’s promise and fulfillment of a Savior.
In the first reading from Samuel, we are assured, like David and his people, that God makes a place for us. His perpetual presence in our lives blesses us. In the second reading, we hear Paul’s resounding praise to God for manifesting salvation through his Son, Jesus.
The gospel passage is the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary that she will bear God’s son. We have heard this throughout the Advent season, so why repeat it today when we are only hours from his birth? I admit this puzzled me until I read it again and again. The answer is in Mary’s response: Behold, I am the handmade of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. Does Mary challenge Angel Gabriel? Yes, but she never asks for proof as Zechariah did, leaving him unable to speak. Her heart was completely open to God’s will in her life. Mary is our model of faith and trust.
We are taught that Advent is a time for preparation, hope, and anticipation. It is also a time of reflection. Is my faith in Jesus strong enough to carry me through troubled times? Do I trust his plan for me, or do I need proof like Zechariah?
I recently found a quote by the author, Barbara Johnson. Faith is seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see is darkness.
May our prayer this Advent/Christmas season be one of light!
Blessed are you, Mary exalted Daughter of Sion! You are highly favored and full of grace, for the Spirit of God descended upon you. We magnify the Lord and rejoice with you for the gift of the Word made flesh, bread of life, and cup of joy. Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, our model of prayer in the Cenacle, pray for us that we may become what we receive – the body of Christ, your son. Amen