The 4th Sunday of Advent – December 20, 2020
Lectionary Readings: 2 Sam 7:1-5,8b-12,14a,16; Ps 89:2-5,27,29; Rom.16:25-27; Lk 1:26-38
Theme: Faithfulness in our present reality
Today we hear Luke’s story of a peasant girl from the small town of Nazareth asked to be the mother of the Messiah. ( “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” – John 1:46). Miryam (H), visited by Gabriel is perplexed. The Ketubah (wedding contract) had been signed with Joseph but there had not been a wedding. “Do not fear, you are favored and your child will be the Son of G-d. Even now your cousin is pregnant with a son in her old age for nothing is impossible with G-d.” We have in this passage the announcement of Jesus to be born in his humanity to a poor family with ancestors who reflect the “good, bad and ugly” of humanity. Despite the sinfulness from Judah, Tamar, Moses, and David, to name a few, they became instruments of blessings to others. We see in the ancestral line of David, families that are not perfect and often broken. (They reflect our present realities as well.) It is into this world that Hope is born anew in this “Yes” from Miryam.
In Samuel, the prophet Nathan is told that the King is not to build a house for G-d. Rather David is promised that G-d will give him and his people rest from their enemies and peace for the land. David is also promised that an heir will come from his line who will be the son of G-d and his kingdom will endure forever. As a response to this reading, the Psalmist sings of the promises that will be faithful forever. “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant…forever I will maintain my kindness toward him.” Perhaps Miryam remembers those who have come before and felt unworthy or confused in being called to an unexpected prophetic role in salvation history. Over and over we see amazing changes taking place in their lives and the lives of all those they touch. Mary’s response opens the world to a Savior for humanity for all times to come until the end of time as we know it.
Paul in his letter proclaims this revelation from the prophetic writings and acknowledges that Jesus Christ is that Chosen One who reveals G-d’s glory to all the nations forever. And so with this Sunday of Advent, our waiting is over: at least to some extent!
For Reflection and Discussion: These past months have been filled with waiting for change and healing to take place all over our world. This Advent has surely been very different from any others in our lifetime and Christmas will also be one in which we continue to yearn for new ways to live in a time of Coved-19. As the year comes to an end, many have lost loved ones to this virus as well as to other illnesses, accidents, tragedies of nature or war. 1) Do you find hope and promise in these scriptures for your life today? What sustains you? 2) How have you been called to a prophetic stance in this most difficult and challenging year? How do we say our “be it done unto me according to your word” in these days?
Bibliography: McKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965).
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Mary Louise Chesley-Cora, Delaware, USA, 2001 Alumna