4th Sunday of Advent - Year B - Fr John's Homilies

4th Sunday of Advent - Year B
  1. We come to our last Sunday of Advent; today we hear about plans – both human plans, and divine plans – and these plans reveals two great mysteries to us.


  1. We hear about King David’s plans. He has, through the grace of God, secured his kingdom; “the Lord had given him rest from his enemies on every side.” Responding to a noble inspiration of his heart, King David wants to do something to express his gratitude towards the Lord. He wants to build the Lord a house, a temple, that is worthy of God’s glory.
  1. “David’s intentions seek the good, but God reminds him that He does not need anything from us. The Lord reminds David that He does not dwell in a house made by human hands, but rather “I have been with you wherever you went….” God is always present among us.


  1. Then the Lord turns David’s plan on its head, and says instead that He is going to build a house for David; a kingdom that will last forever. God’s promise to David reveals the first great Mystery – that in a descendant of David, God will become Man; the Eternal Word will become Flesh and dwell among us.


  1. In today’s Gospel reading we hear that God’s promise to David will be fulfilled in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the Mystery of the Incarnation, God demonstrates that He plans to become one of us; God with us so that He could show us the way to a meaningful and full life, now and forever.


  1. Mary had her own plans for her life. She might had planned to live a life of consecrated virginity for the Lord, and that is why she said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”


  1. Perhaps Mary planned to be a mother and wife, faithful to the Covenant with God. Whatever Mary’s plan for her life was, God certainly disrupted those plans. Instead of being either a virgin or a wife and mother, the Angel tells Mary that God plans for her to be both!


  1. Today’s Gospel reading reveals the second great mystery, namely that God does not work out His plan of salvation all by Himself. Rather, He invites us to cooperate in His plan of salvation. Salvation is God’s business, but He has designed it to be a partnership; we have a role to play in it.


  1. Mary is invited to become the mother of God’s own Son, our Saviour. In her freedom, Mary could have rejected this invitation. She could have said, “Thanks for the invitation, Lord, but what you’re asking is actually very inconvenient for me. I really wish I could do what you want, but I’m just not there yet. I am not worthy!


  1. Thankfully, Mary gave a very different answer. She did not insult God by doubting His plan. Mary knew that God’s plan was the fullness of wisdom and wonderful. She knew that true joy and happiness lies in putting one’s life in the service of the Lord, thus she said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Her “yes” is humanity's Yes; our Yes.


  1. All of us can think of times when God has disrupted our plans. There are three ways in which God especially disrupts our plans. First, when we are really busy and we do not want any interruptions, God often brings us into contact with someone who needs our help.


  1. Second, we suddenly discover that certain popular and fashionable behaviours or activities (which we would like to follow) are actually against Church teaching, that they cause damage to us and to others.


  1. Third, when we are really tired, fed up, or angry, our conscience – like the angel Gabriel in today’s Gospel passage – sends us a message saying that we really need to keep working, or to do a little extra work, or to be extra patient with someone, or to hold our tongue.


  1. These are the common ways in which God disrupts our personal plans, and invites us to cooperate in His plan of salvation.


  1. How do we respond? Do we tell God, like Eve, “thanks for the invitation, but its too inconvenient for me to do that”? Or to we respond like Mary, our Blessed Mother, who said “YES” to God?


  1. Mary’s “yes” lead her soul to “proclaim the greatness of the Lord,” and her spirit to “rejoice in God” her Saviour.


  1. In this final Sunday of Advent we are being invited to allow God to disrupt our plans, so that we will make room for Christ Jesus to dwell in our lives. Then we will forever sing the goodness of the Lord.