4th Sunday of Advent Year B. December 24, 2023

 

4th Sunday of Advent Year B. December 24, 2023

2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Psalm 89: 2-3, 4-5, 27-29; Romans 16: 25-27; Luke 1: 26-38

 

Theme: The Child Jesus is the Fulfillment of the Davidic covenant

Today is the last Sunday of our preparation for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. From the beginning of this Advent season, we learned that preparation for Jesus’ coming entails some work to accomplish and attitudes to observe. The scripture readings of the first Sunday of Advent invited us to observe the attitude of a gatekeeper: to be watchful and alert. The liturgy of the second Sunday asked us to accomplish the work of the road builders: to prepare the way of the Lord and make his paths straight. The way and paths of the Lord here stand for our one-on-one relationships with God and with our brothers and sisters that sins damage and transform into “valleys, mountains, hills, uneven grounds, and rough places”. The Bible readings of last Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, called us to observe an attitude of joy: “Rejoice always… for this is the will of God.” In this last Sunday of Advent, the Bible readings are strongly set up to show the newborn Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. Hence, today’s liturgy exhorts us to imitate the obedience of the Blessed Mary to God. Our “Yes” to God is needed so that he continues to save his people through us.

The angel’s announcement to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Gospel that we heard echoes and builds upon the themes of the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation and the call for a response of obedience of faith found in our first and second readings respectively.

The first reading is the basic account of the Davidic covenant. Before this covenant, God had concluded different covenants namely with Adam, Noah, Abraham, and the people of Israel through Moses. So, this covenant with David is the last divine covenant recorded in the Old Testament. The context of this covenant is the establishment of the Davidic dynasty. The reading commences by explaining the settlement of King David in his palace after years of struggle and fighting. Now that David has a moment of peace, he desires to build a house (meaning a temple) for God. However, God, through the prophet Nathan, tells David that instead, it is He (God) who would make a house for him, (meaning a dynasty) (v. 11). Notice the wordplay on the term “house” and the reciprocal relationship that is set up between the House (Temple) that David desired to build for God and the House (dynasty) that God promised to build for David. The Gospel story that we heard shows us how David’s House and God’s House became realities. The Blessed Mary who holds in her womb Emmanuel, “God with us”, becomes the Theotokos, the “House of God” (see Luke 1: 31). And this Emmanuel who will be born tomorrow is both the “House of God” (Temple) (see John 2: 21) and the “House of David” (Dynasty) (see Luke 1: 32-33; Ephesians 2: 12-22).

Our Gospel is the account of the Annunciation. This account shows how the baby Jesus is the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant that we heard in our first and second readings. First, Luke commences his Gospel by telling us that Mary was betrothed to Joseph of the house of David (v. 27), meaning that Jesus came from the dynasty of David. This is to fulfill the promise that God made to David that says, “I will raise up your offspring after you, sprung from your loins, and I will establish his kingdom. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.” (2 Samuel 7: 12, 14, NABRE). Second, the angel says to Mary about the child Jesus, “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom, there will be no end.” (vv. 32-33, NABRE). These words are similar to the words that God told David in our first reading (see vv. 8-16). Third, the House that David wanted to build for “the ark of God” (see 2 Samuel 7: 2) is fulfilled in Mary who, by carrying “God made flesh” in her womb, became the new Tabernacle of the Presence of God. Fourth, the birth of Christ that the angel announces (see Luke 1: 31), Saint Paul says, was not an unexpected event in the history of the world, but rather was the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages which is now manifested through the prophetic writings (see Romans 16: 25-27).  Through these readings, the Church wants to teach us that our Lord Jesus whose birth we will celebrate tomorrow is the Son of God and the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant.  

Like our Blessed Mother Mary who said “Yes” to God’s plan, the Church exhorts us to say “Yes” to God so that God continues to fulfill his promise to save the world through each of us. Baptized Christians are the “House of God” because we hold Jesus wherever we are. We have one day remaining to prepare ourselves to welcome God who will be born in our hearts and families tomorrow. May the liturgy of this Mass enable us to say “Yes” to God so that through us God may continue to save others. Amen.  

 

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