4th Sunday of Advent
20th December 2020
Year B – Psalter week 4
As we approach the Christmas Season in what are still very challenging times, I wanted to focus upon the faithfulness of God. Whatever circumstances we are living through, God remains faithful to His promises, and never goes back on His side of the covenants that He has made with mankind.
Today’s readings draw out God’s faithfulness to the covenant He made with King David which we hear about in our first reading from the Second Book of Samuel: “Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.” This promise is fulfilled in the coming of Jesus, and is declared in today’s Gospel as the Angel Gabriel says to Mary: “You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.” Indeed, both Luke and especially Matthew in their genealogies are keen to show how Jesus descended from King David, and is the fulfilment of that promise of God of an eternal dynasty.
And yet, in the time between King David and the coming of Jesus, many within the nation of Israel must have doubted that such a promise could ever be fulfilled. Indeed, during some of that time they were exiled from the Holy Land, and their temple along with Jerusalem, were destroyed. They were subject to one super power after another taking control of civil affairs. How, during those dark days, could they possibly have hoped that God’s promise to King David would be fulfilled? Well, while they kept their eyes on earthly powers and events they could not hold out much hope. But for those, such as the prophets, who kept their eyes on God and upon His power and faithfulness, their hope in the fulfilment of this covenant with King David remained strong. They knew through faith that all power ultimately resides with God, and that He is the true author of the world and of history.
Yet when Jesus comes among His own as the promised Davidic King, many do not recognise Him. Even John the Baptist seems, at one point, to question Jesus as to whether He is really the one who is to come. This is because the Israelites had the idea that the Davidic King would be the ultimate earthly ruler, conquering by force all who opposed him, and maybe for John the Baptist, bringing the fire of God’s judgement down upon the unjust. Instead, Jesus comes as the Servant King prophesied by Isaiah, meek and humble of heart, drawing outcasts and sinners back into relationship with God. That is what “covenant” means, entering into a family relationship.
So two lessons that we can draw from today’s readings are:
Firstly, to keep our gaze upon God, upon His promises, and upon His faithfulness in bringing about what He has promised us in the scriptures.
Secondly, to be open to God moving in ways that we do not necessarily expect or immediately recognise.
The New Covenant established by Jesus and ratified by His blood, is for all humanity to be reconciled with God, and to become His adopted children. We say yes to this invitation by seeking to live in union with, and in obedience to, the reign of Jesus in our lives as the Davidic King whose dynasty, as promised by God, is now established forever.
2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16
Sunday Message and Look
Download this weeks Sunday Message and Look (for our younger parishioners) by clicking on the images, for all the readings for this week, as well as the prayers during mass and the usual weekly thoughts and reflections.
I am the handmaid of the Lord: let what you have said be done to me. Alleluia!