Homily preached at Maroubra on Sunday 21st December 2014:
FOURTH SUNDAY of ADVENT.. Year B
Gospel: Luke 1: 26-38
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you . . . Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. Behold, you shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.”
May I speak in the Name of the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. In my reflection from the daily reading for the day which you can find on Facebook, I posed the reflection question of :As you light the Fourth Candle of Advent pray for someone who needs hope in their life.
You see we all at some point in our lives are afraid, feel depressed, feel hopeless. Christmas my friends for many people for many reasons is not a time of being jolly, or merry. Let us encourage those we know who are in this situation, 'Do not be afraid,
that we are there for them, to stand with them in their time of need.
Today’s Gospel on this Sunday before Christmas is Luke’s account of the angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary. The Annunciation story is filled with First Testament imagery (e.g., the announcement by the angel parallels the announcements of the births of many key figures in salvation history, such as Isaac and Samuel; the “overshadowing” of Mary recalls the cloud of glory covering the tent of the ark and temple in Jerusalem).
Mary's yes to Gabriel’s words set the stage for the greatest event in human history: God’s becoming human.
In today’s Gospel, God begins the “Christ event” with Mary, a simple Jewish girl who is at the very bottom of her people’s social ladder; the God who created all things makes the fulfilment of his promise dependent upon one of the most dispossessed and powerless of his creatures. Yet God exalts her humility, her simplicity, her trust in his love and mercy. God’s “favour” belongs the poor, the rejected, the abandoned and the forgotten among us today.
In his becoming human in the Son of Mary, God enters human history shows us how to live God-like, grace-filled, holy lives of compassion, forgiveness and justice in our time and place in that history.
In the Advents of our lives, God calls us to bring his Christ into our own time and place; may we respond with the faith and trust of Mary, putting aside our own doubts and fears to say I am your servant, O God. Be it done.
The mystery of the Incarnation is relived every time we echo Mary’s “yes” to God’s call to bring his Christ into our world, when we accept, as did Mary, God’s asking us
to make the Gospel Jesus alive in our own time and place.