Fourth Sunday of Advent (NAB Translation)
Welcome to the Sunday Says podcast for December 21, 2014, the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Thank you for joining us as we begin preparing our hearts and minds for Mass by previewing and reflecting on the readings. The selected readings this week place us squarely within the mystery of the Incarnation as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Let’s take a look at the readings. As always, we are using the Jerusalem translation for copyright purposes.
This passage from the 2nd Book of Samuel is very important in understanding how Israel’s destiny is fulfilled in the Kingship of Jesus. Centuries before the birth of Jesus, King David, with the help of God, had just secured the nation of Israel in its territory and decides he should build a Temple for his God (like the surrounding nations were building temples for their Gods). However, when David proposes this idea, the Lord speaks through the Prophet Nathan telling David, that God has a different plan. Here we see a play on words. The word “House,” even in English has a double meaning. A “house“ could be a dwelling, but it also used to denote the name of a royal dynasty, much like the House of Windsor is the name of royal family in England. The prophet Nathan tells King David that rather than having David building a house for God, God rather will build the House of David—creating an eternal dynasty to descend from David. As Christians we see the fulfillment of this promise in Christ Jesus, who was, the “Son of David,” and son of God. As Christians we receive are adoption into this dynasty through our baptism which allows us to also be heirs of this eternal kingdom through our savior Jesus Christ.
The Responsorial Psalm echoes God’s promise to David, saying, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one. I have sworn to David my servant: Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations”
The appropriate response to so great a promise is, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.” As Christians we should be able to appropriate these words as well, thanking God for fulfilling His promises through Christ.
Our second Reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans praises God saying “Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News I preach.” Paul indicates that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a mystery, whose revelation was predicted by Scriptures. It is in the form of a Doxology, that is an elegant poem of praise to God. This Doxology praises God for His magnificent gift to mankind which must be preached to all mankind. The gift, of course, is the forgiveness of Sins made possible through the Incarnation. This is truly the Mystery and meaning of Christmas.
In our Gospel passage from Luke, we hear again the timeless story of the Annunciation. You will notice the reference to the “House of David” – of whom Joseph was descended and to whom Mary was betrothed. Jesus through his Mother and foster Father Joseph will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to David of an eternal dynasty. Mary, in turn, will bear a Son, who will be a Son of the “Most High.” Biblical scholar Scott Hahn has pointed out that the “Most High” is an ancient title first used to describe the priest-king Melchizedek, who brought out bread and wine to bless Abraham at the dawn of salvation history. This passage is steeped in mystery and wonder, as we get a glimpse of God working out the salvation of mankind even before the birth of the Davidic dynasty and later through the Davidic dynasty. It is more than we can fathom, yet we can take our queue from Mary’s humble response, humbly, yet boldly joining Mary, St. Paul and all the Saints in bringing the miracle of Jesus Christ the world. Perhaps we can reflect on how God is incorporating us also into this great Mystery which offers salvation to all who seek God.
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