Theme: THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS
- Micah 5:1-4;
- Psalm 79 (80):2-3. 15-16. 18-19. R/ v. 4;
- Hebrews 10:5-10
- Luke 1:39-45
Today is the 4th and last Sunday of Advent, Liturgical Year C. As Christmas draws near, the readings today tell us about the Christ of Christmas. (Raas) The commercial world has taken Christ out of Christmas, so much so that it is no longer “Blessed Christmas”, but “Merry X’mas”! We have to put Christ back into Christmas! Again, the readings today tell us about the Christ of Christmas!
The gospel today tells us that even when Jesus Christ was still in the womb, Mary was blessed; John the Baptist leapt for joy in the womb of Elizabeth, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and recognized Jesus Christ to be Lord, that is, God! Thus we read in the gospel:
“Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.” (Lk 1:41-44; SM)
The first reading tells us that the Christ/Messiah will come from Bethlehem. He will be a descendent of David. He will be the Davidic king who will rule over Israel. He will save Israel from the Assyrians. More importantly, he will save the whole world from sin and death! He will bring peace to the whole world: peace, shalom, salvation! Thus the first reading concludes:
“They (Israel) will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power to the ends of the land. He himself will be peace.” (Mi 5:3b-4; SM)
The responsorial psalm is a prayer asking God to save us; asking God to send the Davidic king/messiah to save us!
The response and the first stanza ask God to save us. (Vv. 1-3; HCSB) The second and third stanzas ask God to send the Davidic King to save us. (Vv. 15-19; CSB)
Thus the response asking God to save us:
“God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.” (Ps 79 (80): 4; SM)
And thus verse 18 of the third stanza, asking God to send his Davidic King/Messiah to save us:
“May your hand be on the man you have chosen, the man you have given your strength.” (Ps 79 (80):18; SM)
The second reading tells us that the Davidic Messiah has come to save us, but not as a political, nationalistic and military Messiah; but as a Suffering-Messiah! A Messiah who serves, suffers, sacrifices, sanctifies and saves! Thus the second reading concludes:
“And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.” (Hb 5:10; SM)
Again, Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. We prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by doing what Mary did in the gospel today, that is, by believing in the promise of the Lord and by doing the will of the Lord! Thus the gospel today ends:
“Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Lk 1:45; SM)
And thus the “Gospel Acclamation” today:
“I am the handmaid (servant) of the Lord: let what you have said be done to me.” (Lk 1:38; SM)
A Happy and Joyful Advent to all of you!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.