SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2018 (Lec. 12)
1) Micah 5:1-4a
2) Hebrews 10:5-10
3) Luke 1:39-45
Gospel related: CCC 148, 448, 495, 523, 717, 2676, 2677
FOCUS: In this season of wonder, let us contemplate the gift that Jesus is to us.
Today, as we begin this very short Fourth Week of Advent, the readings give us much to reflect on about Jesus – God’s gift to all of us. Micah tells the Israelites that from Bethlehem shall come a ruler, whose origin is from of old, and he will stand firm and shepherd his flock, God’s people. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that Jesus did not come to offer God holocausts and sin offerings, but obedience to his Father’s will. Finally, Elizabeth, formerly barren, is with child and she greets as Lord the unborn child that her young kinswoman is carrying.
Jesus far exceeds our imagination in both his power and his humility. We are assured throughout the readings about the greatness of Jesus: he is to be the ruler of Israel for all time, with greatness and majesty. Elizabeth recognizes him for who he is: the Son of God, the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb.
Yet, even as we recognize the greatness of Jesus, we know of how humbly and quietly he came into the world – born in a tiny village that was too small to be among the clans of Judah – and born to a young peasant girl who was also a virgin, from an unknown town, Nazareth. He came in humble obedience to God, and lived his entire life following God’s will – even to the point of rejection and of suffering terribly on a cross. As we learn in the Letter to the Hebrews, through Jesus’ offering of himself and his complete obedience to God’s will, he consecrated a people for God, once for all.
As people consecrated to God through Jesus, we can continue in our lives the work our Savior began when he was born in a manger. The readings remind us that God was able to work through a very small town, a humble young virgin, an older woman who was presumed to be sterile, and a tiny baby. This great God – who created a vast universe virtually out of nothing – can also do much in our lives, through our limited resources, time and talents.
So, as we celebrate in three days the gift that God gave us through the Incarnation of his Son, let us also pray that we can be gifts to one another and to those whom God has sent us to serve. Let us pray for obedient hearts, that we might always strive to know God’s will in our lives and to follow that will. Let us pray that, like Elizabeth, we might be enlightened by the Holy Spirit to see God’s work in unexpected places and people.
And let us pray that, like Mary, we can give birth to Jesus in our world today – that through us, Jesus might be the Shepherd of the troubled souls whom we encounter in our daily lives. May we at all times, throughout our lives, allow Jesus to do the will of God through us, in whatever big or small way he chooses.