Fourth Sunday in Advent

 

We have arrived at the last week in the season of Advent and it is a short week as Christmas is on Thursday. This week we hear from a different Old Testament book for the first time this year with the first reading from the Second Book of Samuel and introduces us to a key figure from which Jesus comes, King David. Samuel is according to the Jewish people is one of the former Prophets, which provides a historical overview of the people of Israel, Christians have placed Samuel in a new classification of books known as historical books. In our reading today King David has just finished conquering all of Israel and has settled into his palace where he has the desire to build a temple for the Ark of the Covenant since the Ark has been in a tent since the time it was built and David lives in a building he posits that so should the Ark. Well as it would be Nathan, a prophet at the time, is spoken to by the Lord after David states his intention and the Lord establishes a covenant with David. In this Davidic covenant the Lord established David and his ancestors as rulers of Israel and that the kingdom will endure forever, there is some messianic overtones to this covenant as the Lord says that he will raise up your heir and make his kingdom firm and I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me. Many Christian put the dots together and say that Jesus is the fulfillment of this covenant.

In the second reading we hear from Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul once again is very wordy and we have a reading which consists of one sentence. This is the end of the Letter to the Romans and it seems like Paul is saying that salvation is open to all people now, you do not have to be a Jew to be saved. As we reach the Gospel we hear Luke’s account of the Annunciation this is the only biblical account of it, and yes this reading should be familiar since we heard it earlier this month at the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The angel Gabriel was sent down from heaven and tells Mary “Do not be afraid, I bring you glad tidings, for you will bear a son and name him Jesus.” Mary ask how this is possible and Gabriel replies Through the Holy Spirit and tells Mary that her cousin Elizabeth is with child herself and is in her sixth month for nothing is impossible with God” Mary says yes “Let it be done unto me according to your will.” This is a tremendous statement and I am not sure how many of us would have to courage to say it. Let us look to Mary our Mother as an example of letting go of our own personal agendas and following the will of the Lord. Perhaps in the New Year we can try to follow Mary’s lead.

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