Homily Fourth Sunday of Advent Year C God's call, our response

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Homily Fourth Sunday of Advent Year C

Reading 1: God used Micah to prophesy about the future coming of the promised Messiah. He prophesied that the long awaited One would be born in Bethlehem of Judea. What is significant about Bethlehem? It was the town of David’s birth. Just as God chose an unknown youth from an insignificant place to be the former great king of Israel, so God has chosen that the future ruler/Messiah should also come from Bethlehem.

Just as David, as shepherd, was chosen to shepherd God’s people as king, so the One to come will shepherd God’s people in his name. But how? David was able to overcome Goliath by the strength of the Lord and was able to establish the great nation of Israel by the strength of God. In the same way the One to come will shepherd God’s flock by the strength of the Lord and in the name of God. In Matthew’s Gospel, the evangelist will verify that Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem was the fulfillment of this prophesy. Jesus himself will identify himself as the Good Shepherd who will bring peace to an alienated people.

Reading 2: The first reading says that all is accomplished by the strength of the Lord and in the name of the Lord. This reading underlies another aspect of Jesus’ life and identity. “Behold, I came to do your will, God.” The author of Hebrews reminds us that the greatest gift of Jesus to the Father was not his death on the cross as a sacrifice, but his decision to embrace the will of the Father even to the death of the cross.

This was the standard and hallmark of Jesus’ life. “I have come to do the will of my Father.” The first Adam chose not to do the will of God and thus sin came into the world. The second Adam, Jesus, chose to embrace the will of the Father in obedience and love and thus came our salvation. “By his will we are consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus.” In baptism we are called to do the will of God in the strength of the Lord in the name of the Lord.

Gospel: The Gospel picks up this message of being obedient to the will of God without understanding fully all the implications or ramifications.
At the Annunciation, Mary’s response to the angel’s revelation that she, a virgin, would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit; that she—an insignificant person from an insignificant town of Nazareth--was chosen by God to be the Mother of the Savior of the world, was Yes. Her response was direct. “I will do your will.”

When the angel further revealed that Elizabeth, her cousin, has also conceived a son in her old age, Mary went in obedience to care for Elizabeth. Because Mary is obedient in small and big things, the word of God to her is confirmed. Elizabeth says the babe in her own womb leapt for joy. She then acknowledged Mary as the Mother of the Lord. She said that all this has happened because Mary believed that the word of God spoken to her would be fulfilled and she acted on his word.

Jesus comes to us in the present moment. He comes to bring peace, reconciliation, joy and love. The Holy Spirit prepared Mary for the conception of Jesus. The Holy Spirit prepared Elizabeth to receive the silent presence of Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to prepare our hearts for the present coming of Jesus into our lives, so that we will not be oblivious of his coming in the ways he will choose to come to us in the next few days.

By seeking his will, by being in the will of God and doing the will of God, we will be better receptive of the hidden coming of Jesus to us.

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