HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR B.
HOMILY THEME: HOPING IN GOD
BY: Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
It is God who builds the house! It is God who sends the Savior! It is God who comes to Mary and through Mary gives us the Savior. All comes from God and all returns to God, but the present is the important time because it is now that God and humans are in relationship.
The first reading today is from the Second Book of Samuel. What a wonderful account of David and of David’s desire to build a house for the Lord! The point of this account, however, is that all of us must recognize that God is the center of life and not us. At one level we can do nothing for God.
That should not stop us from trying to do everything for God! Even though all we have comes from God, we can still return His love by striving to live for Him and striving to be faithful to all that He asks of us. This is a normal, natural response to knowing the love of God.
The second reading today comes from the Letter to the Romans and speaks of the mystery of salvation now being revealed. Only when we believe in a personal God who loves us does any “plan of God” make sense. Sure God does not have to “plan” the way that we humans do, but God always has our good in His mind and is working to bring about His goodness and love within us. Part of the “plan” of God was sending His Only Son to save us from ourselves.
Today, many people do not believe in God or in salvation. On the other hand, if we look around our world at any time in history—if we look today—we see what a mess we humans make of our lives. In the 1900s there was a large movement that believed that we humans could make everything better and perfect. That kind of thinking is still around us in those who are convinced that our problems come from political systems or from economic systems or from other causes. There is practically no recognition today that our problems come from our fallen human nature and that we humans, by ourselves, are unable to fix ourselves and are in need of salvation.
The Gospel from Saint Luke today presents us with Mary saying “yes” to God’s invitation in her life. This is the dawn of our salvation! Only in Jesus the Savior will our world ever be at peace. Only in Jesus as Lord will nations be able to work together. Only with Jesus at the heart of our own personal lives can we truly serve the Lord in Spirit and Truth.
May God build our house, our Church, our country and our world—and with that hope we await the coming of the Lord!
Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB Christ in the Desert Monastery, Abiquiu, New Mexico