Theme: JESUS CHRIST WILL COME THIS CHRISTMAS, WITH US OR WITHOUT US
- 2 Samuel 7:1-5. 8-12. 14. 16
- Psalm 88:2-5. 27. 29.
- Romans 16:25-27
- Luke 1:26-38
Today we celebrate the 4th and last Sunday of Advent. In a few days’ time we will celebrate Christmas! Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas! As we come close to Christmas, the Church has chosen the readings of today to tell us that the promise God made to David in the ﬁrst reading is fulﬁlled in the Gospel reading!
In other words, the readings today tell us of the faithful love 0f God! We may not be faithful to God, but God is always faithful to us! In the ﬁrst reading today God promised King David a dynasty that will last forever! And God fulﬁlled his promise after one thousand years in Jesus Christ! The time between David and Jesus Christ is about a thousand years! The kings of Israel including David were not always faithful to God, but God was always faithful to them and God fulﬁlled his promise to Israel in Jesus Christ!
In fact the responsorial psalm today was written after the exile. When the kings of Israel were unfaithful to God, Israel was exiled. And when they returned from exile there were no kings for Israel. How then can God fulﬁll his promise? But the hymn and prayer of the psalm today is to “God the faithful”! In other words, God is faithful and God will fulﬁll his promise in spite of the unfaithfulness of the kings of Israel and in spite of the exile!
The ﬁrst reading and the responsorial psalm have something very important to tell us, i.e. Jesus Christ will come this Christmas, with us or without us! If we prepare ourselves for Christmas, Jesus Christ will come, with us, but if we do not prepare ourselves for Christmas, Jesus Christ will still come, but without us!
The gospel reading today tells us that the promise God made to David in the ﬁrst reading is fulﬁlled in Jesus Christ in the gospel reading. The angel Gabriel said to Mary that she will give birth to Jesus the Son of God and a descendent of David and his kingdom will last forever! Mary asked the angel how this was to come about since she was a virgin and the angel replied that the Holy Spirit will do it! And Mary responded with the famous saying ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to your word’. And the angle let her.
Again, it is important to know that not everyone said ‘yes’! Not everyone believed in the promise of God! Today’s gospel reading was read on last Friday, the 20″‘ of December and together with it was the ﬁrst reading from Isaiah. The ﬁrst reading from Isaiah contrasted the ‘No’ of king Ahaz with the ‘Yes’ of Mary. The ﬁrst reading last Friday tells us that the Lord wanted to give a sign to king Ahaz, but Ahaz said ‘no’. He did not want a sign. And the Lord through the prophet Isaiah said to Ahaz, ‘I myself will give you a sign. A maiden is with child and she will soon give birth t0 a son whom she
will call Emmanuel, which means “God-is-with-us”.
Another person who did not believe in the promise of God is Zechariah the father of John the Baptist. We read about him in the gospel of last Thursday, the 19th of December.
Again, his unbelief contrasted with the belief of Mary in the gospel of the following Friday, the 20th of December, which was the same as today’s gospel. The angel Gabriel said to Zechariah that he was to be the father of John the Baptist, but he did not believe the angel. This was because Zechariah and Elizabeth his wife were both very old, too old to have a child. Zechariah was struck dumb because of his unbelief.
The important thing to note here is that in both Ahaz who said ‘no’ to God and Zechariah who did not believe the angel, God fulﬁlled his promises in spite of their unfaithfulness! God was faithful in spite of their unfaithfulness and both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ were born!
Again, the important message for us today is that Jesus Christ will come this Christmas, with us or without us! lf we prepare ourselves this Advent for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas then Jesus Christ will come, with us, but if we do not prepare ourselves this Advent for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas then he will come, without us!
That is why during this time of Advent, the Church asks us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas by prayer, by attending Sunday masses regularly, by attending weekday masses, by going to confession, by penance (though Advent is not a penitential season), by acts of mercy and charity, by becoming Santa Claus to the poor, the marginalized, the aged, the sick, the children, the weak, etc.!
A Happy Advent to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.