HOMILY FOR 4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR A
HOMILY THEME: GOD WITH US.
BY: Fr. Agustin Mateo.
HOMILY: We have arrived at the end of our Advent season. On this fourth Sunday of Advent, the mood of the liturgy shifts from the intense calls to conversion to a focus on the events immediately surrounding the birth of Jesus. All the readings from the prophets, the apostles, and the gospels cluster around the mystery announced to Mary by the Angel Gabriel and the Holy Family of Nazareth. The Holy Spirit is powerfully at work in the Church now as he filled the womb of the Virgin Mary with his power.
In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah speaks in the year 734 BC when King Ahaz was facing a very powerful enemy. Isaiah urged Ahaz to have faith in the Lord’s power to deliver Jerusalem, and he offered the king a sign from the Lord. When the king hypocritically refused, Isaiah angrily proclaimed that a sign would be given him anyway, the sign of a virgin with a child whose name shall be called Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” God is with his people in the midst of their powerful enemies.
In the gospel, we hear that before Mary and Joseph came together, Mary is found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. It is clear that the child is not Joseph’s, but rather God’s own Son. However, this is not yet clear to Joseph. Joseph faces a mystery in her life and decides to “divorce her quietly.” God will have to intervene to clarify the situation through an angel who reveals to Joseph in a dream that Mary has conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and that he should not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. Both in the first reading and in the gospel, we hear the name Emmanuel, “God with us.” Again, God is with Joseph in the midst of a great mission to watch and raise the mother and Son of God.
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In the next days we will celebrate these mysteries in which “God is with us.” We need God among us as the sign of God’s love and salvation for us. Often we find ourselves like King Ahaz in front of a big enemy such as vice, sin, sickness, conflict, precariousness, and we need a sign from God. Sometimes we may find ourselves like Joseph in front of a mystery in our lives, in front of an event that goes beyond our power to understand it. In all these moments, we need the intervention of God to tell us that He is with us as the prophet Isaiah did with Ahaz or the angel to Joseph. We can create a space and time during this Christmas season to meditate on God’s love and salvation for us from our powerful enemies, the devil and his works. Joseph listened the voice of God in his dream with the angel and he obeyed him, welcoming Mary our mother with her Son Jesus into his home. Mary also meditated on all these events and kept them in her heart. Let us also welcome the holy family of Nazareth into our hearts and homes so that we may not be afraid to face our enemies and difficulties at the threshold of this New Year.
May all have a merry and blessed Christmas season!
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