20Dec 4th Sunday of Advent

1st Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16

Nathan prophesies that God will single out the dynasty of David, from – a promise fulfilled in Jesus

Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.

I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. When he commits iniquity, I will punish him with a rod such as mortals use, with blows inflicted by human beings. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.

Responsorial: Psalm 88: 2-5, 27, 29

R./: For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord;
through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.
Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever,
that your truth is firmly established as the heavens. (R./)

‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will establish your dynasty for ever
and set up your throne through all ages.’ (R./)

He will say to me: ‘You are my father,
my God, the rock who saves me.’
I will keep my love for him always;
for him my covenant shall endure. (R./)

2nd Reading: Romans 16:25-27

Praise of the God whose salvation is revealed in Jesus Christ. This good news must be spread everywhere

To God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith-to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

The annunciation to Mary, and her total Yes to God

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel as sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.


That special person

If you were to ask a married couple how they came to fall in love, or asked two good friends how they came to be friends, they may have difficulty answering and might say something like, “It just happened.” In one sense that may be true. In another sense it didn’t just happen. If two people are in a significant relationship with each other, be it marriage or friendship, it is because they have chosen each other. Why does someone choose one person rather than another as a spouse or friend? Why does someone choose to share his or her life with someone else? This is the mystery of human freedom, human preference. The more significant relationships cannot be forced. Love is freely bestowed by one person on another; the other freely receives what is bestowed and freely reciprocates, and a new relationship is born. There is a depth about all that.

If there is mystery in the relationship of one human being with another, even more so in the relationship between God and us. Why did God choose Mary to be the mother of his Son? Why this particular woman in this small village at this particular time of human history? It was the mysterious freedom and preference of God. Yet, there is a difference between God’s choice of Mary and the choice any one of us might make of another. When any one of us chooses another to love or to befriend, there is always, of necessity, an exclusive element to that choice. We choose this person rather than any number of others. Although we choose several people in the course of our lives in each case our choice of one excludes others.

God’s choice of Mary was not exclusive in that sense. In choosing Mary, he was choosing all of us. He chose Mary for all our sakes. God chose her to carry God’s Son on behalf of us all, because her future child was God’s gift to us all. That is why how Mary responded to God’s choice of her was not just a matter that concerned herself. It concerned us all. We all had a vested interest in how she responded. Her response would also be our response. In a sense we looked to her to make an appropriate response on behalf of us all to God’s choice of us.

The good news is that Mary did not let us down. Although initially disturbed and perplexed by the message, she eventually surrendered fully to that mysterious choice of God. Having been graced in this mysterious way, she responded wholeheartedly, “Let it be to me according to your word.” God freely chose her, and she in turn chose to place her freedom at God’s service. God’s choice of Mary, and her choice of God in response had the most wonderful consequences for all of us. She went on to sing, “the Almighty has done great things for me.” And because of her response to God’s choice, we can all sing, “the Almighty has done great things for us.” We have all been graced through Mary’s response to God’s choice of her.

Welcoming the Grace of God

Today’s readings tell of God’s gracious initiative towards us. Their focus is not on what we do for God but on what God does for us. In the Book of Samuel, David plans to do a great service for God, no less than to build a beautiful temple as a house of prayer. King David was an achiever who had accomplished a great deal. Yet Nathan says that God did not want the king to build the Temple. Rather, it was God who would do something for David;whereby David’s descendants would lead God’s people into the future. David had to let go of his great plans and learn to let God lead the course of his life.

Accepting favours can be difficult for us. We like to be the givers, the organizers, the achievers. To let others give to us is to acknowledge our need, our dependence, our limitations, and that does not always come easy. Maybe we sense that to allow ourselves to be graced by others is to put ourselves under obligation to them. That reluctance to receive can carry over into our relationship with God.

The heart of the good news is that God is a gracious God who wants to give us all things. As Paul says in his epistle, ‘God who did not withhold his won Son, but gave him up for all of us, will also with him give us everything else!’ This is the special time of year when we allow God to be the God of abundant grace in our regard; it is a time when we come before him in our need and open ourselves to his gracious love and presence.

2 Responses

  1. Kevin Walters

    I stood amongst the stars, as a child with Guardian of great age
    With face like a Buddha or a babe
    No hair, eyes gentle shone, two pools of delight tenderness bright
    No word was uttered; he stood near, in right hand, test tube with seed
    My heart did read, it all started here I did perceive
    Then in garden of delight, tap of eternity running crystal clear
    He took me close and I did fear
    I was in ancient land amongst clamour, dust and sand
    In spirit approaching from the rear, He turned;
    His sight stooped me in my flight
    Rabbi! two pools of delight, held me tight
    I entered cool room, within maid and future groom
    Pitcher pouring water, in hand, her beauty *shone from within*
    As if she had never seen sin

    “It must have happened when you touched my hand” (The Betrothal?)

    I saw the goodness in his manly face, no doubt did take place
    He was a true lover, who new goodness in another
    A holy family did take place in trust, love, gentleness and grace
    There was no duty here; this was love in highest sphere
    The room grows dark; from two lovers I do depart
    Now on gloomy hill, all nature still, approaching the Cross,
    Shock! nakedness, such suffering
    All nature seemed to groin with pain, I was home again
    Numb with shock, such suffering cannot be forgot
    This in truth is what I saw, I make no comment I open a door.

    *It is fair to say that this same light shone from the Groom also*

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  2. Thara Benedicta

    Key message:
    The ever living heart, eyes, hands, legs, mouth etc – the whole body of our Lord Jesus Christ was formed in the womb of our Mother Mary – how great is Our Mother Mary!!

    Takeaway from first reading:
    In the first reading, God reveals Himself as our loving Father- “I will be a Father to you; You shall be a son/daughter to me.”
    I remember my dad doing everything possible out of his hands to take care of me, when he was alive. There was nothing that he missed doing in taking care of his children. When our earthly father cares for us, won’t our heavenly father care for us much more? God, Our Father knows our every need in detail. He wants us to enjoy the motherly love and care, even if we are deprived of a caring earthly mother. All along in the Bible, we see God emphasising the importance of taking care of orphans. He has a special love for orphan children and widows. He does not want anyone to be considered as an orphan. So Jesus gave His own Mother Mary as mother for all of us!!

    Takeaway from second reading:
    The second reading talks about the revealing of the hidden mystery that was kept as a secret all through the Old Testament days. The birth of Jesus Christ was the most awaited mystery to revealed all through the history of mankind.

    Takeaway from Gospel reading:
    At this point of time during the first Christmas, Mother Mary would have been longing to hold Jesus in her arms and wondering how the face of her baby God will be!! God took the form of Jesus in the womb of Mother Mary!! How greatly privileged is our Mother!! When Mother Mary adored God, her baby would have blessed her. When Mother Mary prayed to God for others, her baby would have answered her. When Mother Mary prepared food for her baby, God-Jesus would have tasted it. How would it have been for Mother Mary to realise that her baby is God!!! How wonderfully peaceful would have been the Holy family, where all are Holy. The Holy family was the happiest family as they were the holiest family.

    Tips from the life of Mother Mary:
    1. The lives of Mother Mary and Saint Joseph are a perfect example of “Trust and obey God, you can win over any hardships”. Though they did not have a place to give birth, they did not worry at all. Because they trusted in God, they were happy in spite of them being lonely, poor, uncared for. They sailed through all the storms in their lives, simply trusting and obeying Him.
    2. Saint Joseph was strong and fully committed in taking care of His family. He obeyed whatever the instructions, even fleeing to Egypt. Even though the instructions were difficult to follow, he did not waver in his mind. He accepted all the hardships as the will of God. Let us also not question ‘Why God why?’, and simply accept all the challenges and win.
    3. Mother Mary knew the scriptures well and she would have certainly known when she was pregnant itself, that Her son would have to undergo terrible sufferings, accused falsely, put into shame, suffer and die a terrible death. Not sure how to express the agony undergone by Mother Mary when she knew that the child she is carrying in her womb would have to undergo terrible sufferings, she accepted them as the will of God.
    4. When Martha asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her, Jesus replied “Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” But at the same time, Mother Mary was also doing the household chores which was according to the will of God. This gives us the teaching – Not to be overly concerned about the things of the world. But to do what is needful.
    5. Jesus hanging on the cross, looked down and saw His agonised Mother Mary. All His life He had heard the whispers of need for the people from Mother Mary. So Jesus entrusted all of us into the care of His Mother. Even now she continues to whisper our needs to her son and yearns for all of us to get closer with our Lord Jesus. Let’s keep whispering to Mother Mary as our closes friend and Mother.
    6. Our Mother Mary’s heart would have bled when she was seeing Her divine son being nailed on the cross. Can any mother observe Her son being mocked, stoned, carrying the cross, nailed on the cross and hanging and bleeding to death? She carried the lifeless body of Lord Jesus, fully torn on her lap. For whom did she make all these sacrifices? Isn’t it for our sins to be forgiven and be united to God? Is there a sacrifice greater than this?
    7. In the marriage at Cana, though His time hadn’t come, Jesus could not ignore the requests of Mother Mary. If Jesus could not ignore the petitions of Mother Mary then will He ignore her petitions now?

    Mother Mary’s life was beautiful as She humbled herself as the servant of God.
    Our life too will become beautiful when we humble ourselves as servants of God.

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