Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fulfillment: 4th Sunday of Advent

(Listen to this homily here).

Last week I preached about two words—reflect and rejoice.  Today I want to leave you with one: fulfillment.
            Listen again to the words we heard from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: “To him who can strengthen you, according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages but now manifested through the prophetic writings and, according to the command of the eternal God, made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith…”
            The mystery kept secret for long ages is God’s rescue plan for us.  I loved Bishop Sirba’s image from the homily he gave at our parish mission—a GPS.  When we take a wrong turn, a GPS recalculates and puts us on the right path.  This is what God has done for us since the very beginning.
            After the original sin of Adam and Eve, God already began to reveal His plan of redemption.  In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, from the third chapter and fifteenth verse God says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
            God continues this rescue mission over centuries.  Slowly—very slowly—He builds up His family.  In Adam and Eve He had a couple.  Through Noah He had a family.  In Abraham he acquired a tribe.  In Moses He built a nation and in David He established a kingdom.  Each step of the way God forged covenants with His people, promising them land, protection and redemption.  We heard one example of these promises in 2nd Samuel today: “The LORD also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you.  And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm.  I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.”
            Keep these words in mind and listen to the voice of the angel Gabriel, whose appearance to Mary comes at the brink of fulfillment: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
            Jesus, the Son of the Most High.  The son of David.  The ruler of God’s house and family.  The Messiah.  Emmanuel—God is with us.  Fulfillment.
            God, be with us as we conclude the season of Advent that we may be prepared for the coming of your Son into our hearts.

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