Friday, 16 December 2011

4th Sunday of Advent: Year- B: Luke 1: 26-38: Listen! You are to conceive and bear a Son.

4th Sunday of Advent: Year- B
1st Reading: 2Sam 7:1-5.8-12.14.16: The kingdom of David will always stand secure before the Lord.
2nd Reading: Rom. 16:25-27: The mystery which was kept secret for endless ages is now made clear.
Gospel: Luke 1: 26-38: Listen! You are to conceive and bear a Son.

The Church has been repeating since the very beginning of the Advent “Come, let us adore the Lord who is to come.” During these last days before Christmas her invitation is “The Lord is at hand, let us adore him.”
1.     The plans of God to save humankind come from a distant past:
God announced his plans to bring human back to himself the very moment the first parents withdrew from him by sin. (Gen 3:  14-15). But thousands of years would have to pass before the promise would be fulfilled. People would have to be prepared first to receive the Saviour.
a.     The ancestry of Jesus:
Two Gospel writers, Matthew and Luke give us a long list of names of Jesus’ ancestors. (Mt 1: 1-17; Lk 3: 23-28). Matthew starts his list from Abraham, and passing through David, comes down to Joseph (Mt 1:16). Luke instead starts his list with Jesus, and passing through David, goes up to Abraham and proceed up to Adam. Matthew’s intention was to show that Jesus belonged to the people of Israel, while Luke’s idea was that Jesus belonged to our human family, that he as a man came from Adam just as we do.
b.     God chose David as the key figure among the ancestors of Jesus:
God chose David about one thousand years before Jesus,   when Saul was rejected on account of his disobedience (1Sam 16: 1-13). David became the king after Saul’s death and conquered Jerusalem (2 Sam 2:1-4; 5:5-10).
Prophet Nathan encouraged David to build the temple but Yahweh wanted Solomon to build the temple which He had planned.
2.     An extraordinary promise made by God to David:
Today’s first reading tells us that David would build “a house” not a temple that is a family which will last for ever. One of David’s sons, Solomon will build the temple and his kingdom will never end. But two tribes remained faithful to Solomon so called the kingdom of Israel to north and the other ten tribes chose another king and made kingdom of Judah to the south. The worse thing happened within four hundred years of David’s death both kingdoms were destroyed. Here comes a question to the Jews: What has happened to the promise God made to our father David that his kingdom would last forever? Has God failed in his promise?
The Gospel of today tells us that God did not fail. Let us carefully go through the passage:
3.     God fulfilled his promise to David in a most unexpected way:
God announced the coming of a Redeemer to our first parents, Adam and Eve. He kept on reminding the people of Israel about it through Abraham, Moses and the prophets. God did keep his promise through Mary of Nazareth and prepared Mary to be the Mother of the Redeemer, His Son was born to save the people. Her conversation with the angel shows her humility, wisdom and holiness.
a.     Mary was a profoundly humble person: “you are to conceive and bear a son ...the Lord will give him the throne of his ancestor David...his reign will have no end.” (Lk 1:28, 31-33).
b.     Mary was keen to find out God’s will: “How can this ...since I am virgin?” (Lk 1:34).
c.      As a reward for her humility and prudence, God’s plans were openly revealed to her (Lk 1: 34). The tent and the Ark of the Covenant was taking possession of them (Ex 40:34-35; 1Kg 6:10.13), similarly God was taking complete possession of Mary, the Messiah came out from her  and becomes the Ark of the covenant, the new dwelling of God among people.
d.     Mary accepted God’s Will wholeheartedly: “I am the handmaid...let it be done to me according to your word.”(Lk 1:38).
4.     The fact of the Son of God becoming man is “a mystery”, something no human mind will ever fully grasp:
Today’s second reading, Paul tells us that all this is a great mystery that God revealed to us. It is mystery of love we shall never grasp fully its meaning.

The Church invites us to receive Jesus the way Mary did. Let us accept God’s Will in our lives joyfully and wholeheartedly to carry out His plans to do so.

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