The Virgin is with Child: God’s declared plan of salvation is revealed!

Reflections for Advent are by Bishop Kenneth Richards, Bishop of St. John’s-Basseterre

Richards - newFourth Sunday of Advent – 21st December 2014

The relevant reference to be had from the First Reading from 2 Samuel (7:1-16) is the Word of the Lord spoken to David by the prophet Nathan, that the Lord will make for David a house and sovereignty that would stand secure forever.  This declaration was interpreted as the prophesy of Israel’s salvation through the Son of David, the Messianic hope. The promise then, had implications for Solomon, David’s immediate successor, but, would find fulfillment in Jesus Christ, born of the line of David. Hence, Jesus, the Anointed One (Messiah) would bring salvation for Israel.

St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans (16:25-27) states that Jesus Christ is the “mystery” which was hidden for all ages, but which is now made manifest. The “mystery”, presumably, is God’s plan of salvation for all peoples .  A mystery to be also made known to those who are not of Israel. Jesus is the embodiment of this mystery.

So this Fourth Sunday of Advent takes each of us into the context of commemorating the event announcing the appearing of the one who will accomplish our Salvation. The Gospel of Luke (1:26-38) relates the birth announcement of the Messiah to Mary, and by extension, to the waiting world. Are you and I numbered among the waiting people, and what is our disposition, to confirm this?

To those of us who participate in the Advent Liturgical experience, we must hear the Words addressed to Mary, as Words addressed to each of us personally (Lk 1:28-33):

Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you. …do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! 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 God 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!

When each of us commit to a personal engagement with the events of the Advent and approaching Christmas Season, the quality of our listening and responding, to the Words of Scriptures addressed to us, gives testimony to the level of our faith in the credibility of God’s Word as living and active now as then.  And, as a consequence, we will elicit the response required by faith.

Indeed, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord (Ps 89), for we are proven to be highly favoured!  For do we not have the benefit of knowing that Jesus Christ accomplished the salvation announced at Christmas, in His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, the mystery we celebrate later at Easter!  So indeed, we are highly favoured and hence we will forever sing of God’s goodness!

However, we must ensure that our delight, in the salvation that comes from the Lord, becomes more and more sincere and genuine by allowing the saving action of Jesus Christ to be seen in our lives. Lives characterized by ongoing conversion and striving for holiness.

So as we come to these last days of Advent, let us intend to remain grounded in the attitude that the Liturgical Celebrations had as their goal.  That each of us live our lives vigilantly, aware that we are awaiting the return of our Saviour.  And, that our commemoration of Our Lords first appearance must elicit a profound rejoicing; for we are celebrating the Messianic promise made to David, that our salvation has come!

Let us pray!

Almighty Lord and Father of all.

We look forward with great expectation

to renew our experience of celebrating the

presence of the Messiah announced by the Prophet Isaiah.

Awaken our hearts and minds to the wonder of the mystery

of your saving promise; for it is the mystery of your love for everyone of us,

created in your image!

May your Holy Spirit lead us in the rejoicing that must consequently follow

from our acknowledging the fulfillment of Your promise.

And, may our joy find expression in lives lived as expressions of Your will at work in us.

For the glory of your Name; we make our pray through Jesus Christ Our Saviour! Amen