Gospel Reflection for Sunday December 22nd 2019 The 4th Sunday of Advent
We’re almost there – but not just yet! Waiting for Christmas can be so hard and not just for children!
For the last number of weeks, we have been surrounded by all the signs, sounds, symbols of Christmas; lights, decorations, carols, trees, gifts and presents. These are all very important parts of our festivities and celebrations; it wouldn’t be Christmas without them. But in the first reading for todays mass from the Prophet Isaiah, we read; “The Lord himself will give us a sign. It is this; the maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Emmanuel, a name which means ‘God – is – with – us’.” So let us not lose sight of this wonderful sign from God amidst all the other signs surrounding us these remaining few days before Christmas.
We generally focus our attention on the person of Mary, which is right. Mary is not only central to the narrative of Christmas, but also to the history of salvation. God called and chose Mary personally by her name to be the Mother of Jesus. In faith and humility she agreed to what was asked of her. She neither looked nor asked for this great honour and responsibility. Through her courageous act of faith, God breaks into our world and our lives.
The gospel this Sunday highlights another person through whom God worked; Joseph. I often think that he doesn’t get the notice he deserves. Like Mary, he too was called by name. He too heard the word and message God had for him through an angel. Like Mary, he too was encouraged with the words, ‘Do not be afraid.’ In faith and humility, Joseph too says ‘Yes’ to what God is of asking of him. Joseph had his own personal annunciation!
God chooses ordinary humans to be part of his plan for the world. It is through Mary, Joseph and countless millions throughout history that God’s kingdom is proclaimed and built. We think of the famous and well known saints that we know and pray to every day since we were children. But it would be a mistake to think that it is only these people who were and are called by God. Today, each of us is called by God personally with these words; ‘I call you by your name, do not be afraid. You are precious to me and I love you.’ In whatever way we can, today you and I are called to make God real in and for the world.
What good is to me, if the birth of Jesus takes place eternally, but does not take place within myself? What good is it to me if Mary and Joseph are filled with the Holy Spirit, but I am not also filled with the same Spirit? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to Jesus, if I do not also give birth to Jesus here and now in my time and in my own situation? (Meister Echkart: 1260 – 1327)
-Br Michael Moore OMI
Gospel for Sunday December 22nd : Matthew 1:18-24 ©
How Jesus Christ came to be born
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