Homily December 23, 2012 Fourth Sunday of Advent

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion by Fr Joe R on December 17, 2012

Once again this week, we are brought another voice from the distant past the prophet Micah, who like Zephaniah last week, is heard only once in the cycle of readings in the lectionary. He is speaking from a time when the world was a mess, Jerusalem was surrounded by the Assyrians and the prophet is making a promise of peace on God’s behalf, hardly a plausible message to his hearers. It is a message that only God can bring about and so he does in Jesus. But Micah in his own way is telling us that God will do it his way. He point to the smallest tribe and the tiny seemingly insignificant city of Bethlehem. Once again, the supposed weak link is the strongest.

In the gospel, instead of the Annunciation which is recounted twice in the Gospels and is used on the fourth Sunday of Advent in the other two cycles of the lectionary, it uses the Visitation on this fourth Sunday of Advent in this cycle. An obscure, barren old woman, and a young pregnant teenager become the vehicles today to announce the coming Savior and his precursor, John. Mary is blessed because of her faith, that is her obedience to God’s will in bearing the child. She hears God’s word and keeps it. Mary is blessed, not for what she was in herself, but for her relationship to the Incarnation, a special sharing in God’s will. In these two, God has again taken the obscure and unthinkable and put it at the beginning of his work. Again, His way, not ours.

Finally, Hebrews reminds us today that Christ coming was an act of perfect obedience to his Father. He totally gave up his will to his Father, taking on a humanity, making himself a perfect instrument of obedience to the Father. Thus the act of atonement begins with life, and with his coming death and resurrection bringing about the one-act which for all time atones for all of humanity. Again, God’s way, not ours.

So, Christ is near, Christmas is going to happen. Remember, he comes in many strange ways and surprising circumstances. Look for where he is not where we expect him. Who after all, would have looked for a family in a stable. Today, he could be in a box on the street, under a bridge, or huddled alone in some far corner of one of ours or a friends’ house. He could be who knows where as God will have it his way. Are you ready for Him?

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