YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
HOMILY THEME: GOD’S PLAN AND OUR EXPECTATIONS
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
HOMILY: First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-11, 16
Psalm 88:2-5, 27, 29
Second Reading: Romans 16:25-27
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:26-38
Today is the 4th and the last Sunday of Advent, before Christmas. Today, we are standing right at the front door of Christmas and just before we enter, our liturgy presents Mary to us, to be our model. In following her example, we are called to faith & holiness, humility & simplicity, obedience & surrendering to the will of God, as we await the coming of our Saviour into the world and into our lives.
Obviously, God’s choice of Mary to be the Mother of His Son was special. So her own response too was special, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” But God has also chosen all of us for something special. For this, like Mary, we are also favoured. What has been our response to God’s choice of us? Consequently, like Mary, we are challenged to use our freedom and respond with our ‘yes’ to God’s call.
Our liturgy today reveals a great mystery, namely that God does not often work out His plan according to our expectation, yet he does not work out His plan of salvation all by Himself. Rather, He invites us to cooperate in His plan of salvation. Salvation is God’s business, but He has designed it to be a partnership; in which we have a role to play.
In the first reading we hear about King David’s plans. He has, through the grace of God, secured his kingdom; “the Lord had given him rest from his enemies on every side.” Responding to a noble inspiration of his heart, King David wants to do something to express his gratitude towards the Lord. He wants to build the Lord a house, a temple, that is worthy of God’s glory. “David’s intentions seek the good, but God reminds him that He does not need anything from us. The Lord reminds David that He does not dwell in a house made by human hands, but rather “I have been with you wherever you went….” God is always present among us.
So all of us too can think of times when God has disrupted our plans. There are ways in which God especially disrupts our plans. One is, when we are really busy and we do not want any interruptions, God often brings us into contact with someone who needs our help. Another way is, we suddenly discover that certain popular and fashionable behaviours or activities (which we would like to follow) are actually against God’s commandments and the teaching of the Church, because they cause damage to us and to others, or when we are really tired, fed up, or angry, our conscience – like the angel Gabriel in today’s Gospel passage – sends us a message saying that we really need to keep working, or to do a little extra work, or to be extra patient with someone, or to hold our tongue.
As a young man, St. Augustine lived a hedonistic life, one in which sensuality and self-indulgence reigned supreme. Along the way, prior to his becoming a Christian he had a son by a woman to whom he was not married. Augustine was brilliant and renowned. By worldly standards he lived a spectacularly successful life. His mother Monica had prayed for his conversion for over thirty years and eventually her prayers were answered.
All the while Augustine’s heart was hungering for something. He was aware that his inner self was empty. Even though his life was filled with sensuality and pleasure, fame and popularity, he knew there was something more. He also knew that nature of the human heart was destined for a higher and greater realty than what could be found in this world. In his classic work setting forth his odyssey to Christianity, known now as The Confessions of St. Augustine, he wrote: “Our hearts were made for Thee, O Lord, and they will not rest until they rest in Thee.” With that realization Augustine eventually became a Christian.
For us, as we make our plans for the coming year, let us remember to include God in our plan and entrust everything about us to His care and we shall find true happiness.
*Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya*