Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2012

Micah 5: 1-4a
Hebrews 10: 5-10
Luke 1: 39-45

Now I do not claim to be psychic, but I am willing to bet that every child here is thinking “One more day till Christmas!!”  And there must be many adults here thinking; “Oh my goodness, only one day till Christmas!”  We are thinking of the presents we still have to buy and wrap, the food supplies we have to buy for Christmas dinner, and how much time we need to prepare it.  Then all those personal crises seem to get magnified, during the Christmas season, so much pressure and tension.

Let us just for moment, stop, try to still our minds and our hearts, and listen for the voice of the Lord; feel his Presence, realize that we are about to celebrate something wonderful that has happened in the past, is happening now, and will continue to happen into the future.  St. Elizabeth knew something awesome was about to happen, she had already experienced God’s power in her life, when, in her late age, she was able to become pregnant.  One could say that she was already sensitive to the power of the Holy Spirit, so that when she heard Mary’s voice and felt her child leaped in her womb, not move or kick, but leaped, she knew something more powerful than her miracle was occurring.  She realized instinctively that Mary was carrying the Son of God.

God was intervening again in the lives of His people, the children of Israel, as He did during the time of Moses.  The promised Messiah was coming, not with great sound and fury, but as a little child, born of a simple Jewish, peasant woman.  Yet, He will become a Shepherd of His People, not only the people of Israel, but of all nations, caring for them, healing them, and guiding them. 

It is this that we celebrate in a couple of days, this great miracle, and this great act of love by the Father.  It is an act of love that continues today.  We continue to celebrate Emmanuel, “God is with us.”  Jesus Christ is present as the Word of God, He is present in the Eucharist, and He is present within each of us when we open our hearts to Him.  And He cares for us as a shepherd, comforting us, and guiding us, bringing us back to the Father.

In the time that is left, I encourage all of us to make some quiet space in our day, so that we can hear the voice of our Shepherd, and in hearing that voice we will leap for joy.

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