Homily for the 4th Sunday Of Advent
Keep Christ at the Center
Dearly beloved, we gather today to celebrate the last Sunday of advent. The last opportunity as it were, to make ourselves ready for the birth of the Messiah. There have been many calls beginning from the first Sunday of advent to make ourselves ready for Christmas. For those of you who listened and from that time have made the necessary sacrifices and preparations, it is an encouragement for you that your efforts will not be worthless. It will be a little while and the promise of God of the savior will hold true for you. Any of you who have not had the opportunity to get yourselves involved in any form of preparations could take advantage of this last week to commit to prayers, scriptural meditation and generosity of giving yourselves to a just and holy cause.
The first reading and the gospel present to us two great examples of God’s manifestations and blessings; first to a nation and second to the world. King David’s selfless act revealed God’s plan for the nation. Mary’s simple yes has saved the whole of creation. Many a time, it is difficult to imagine how our personal lives can bring any meaningful change, even to our homes. Just take a moment to read again this section of the first reading.
““Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?’“
"'It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
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.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.'”
We may ask ourselves as to what occasioned these revelations and blessings from God upon David and the land of Israel. Right at the beginning of the first reading we are told.
“When King David was settled in his palace,
and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
he said to Nathan the prophet,
“Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!”
Nathan answered the king,
“Go, do whatever you have in mind,
for the LORD is with you.”
Beloved, when we learn to put God at the center of all that we do, untold blessings follow. David committed himself to two things:
- He looked at his own life and counted his blessings.
- He had a desire to give back to God a permanent place that could bring God to the people.
The point of this account, is that all of us must recognize that God is the center of our lives. We ourselves, are not the center of our lives. On one level we can do nothing for God. That should not stop us from trying to do everything for God! Even though all we have comes from God, we can still return His love by striving to live for Him and striving to be faithful to all that He asks of us. This is a normal, natural response to knowing the love of God.
Our mother Mary on the other hand, gives us another example of listening to God through the angel and knowing what God expected from her. Even though she never knew fully what the message entailed, she still said yes to God’s invitation in her life. This is the dawn of our salvation! Her simple yes, has brought salvation to all of creation. Only in Jesus the Savior, will our world ever be at peace. Only in Jesus as Lord, will nations be able to work together. Only with Jesus at the heart of our own personal lives, can we truly serve the Lord in Spirit and Truth.
Beloved, so much is already going on in our world and you may be tempted to see yourself as insignificant and unnoticeable. David might have thought he was making a private decision. We see the fulfilment of that promise in the YES of Mary. Mary may have thought the same, as she made a private decision. The chain of yes to God must continue if the world will see peace and joy. It must not end with you. When you have been working and praying, what sort of decisions have you been making privately in relation to God? Think for a moment as to what your disposition to God can do for your community, this nation and for our world.