Fr Vincent's reflections on the 4th Sunday of Advent
With Christmas so close, we hear the Gospel account of the Angel Gabriel asking Mary if she is willing to bear the Son of God. Mary says “yes,” and sets the stage for you and me. Are we ready to say “yes” to God to receive Jesus into our lives as did Mary?
Watch the video: Fr Vincent's reflections on the 4th Sunday of Advent
Read the text:
Fourth Sunday of Advent 2020
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord,
your grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may by his Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
As always, if you don’t have your Bible with you, please pause this video to retrieve your Bible so you can follow along.
The Gospel today is Luke 1:26-38.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke.
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him 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.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
On this 4th Sunday of Advent, we hear the Gospel, truly the “Good News,” that God is fulfilling His promise to Adam and Eve, to Abraham, to Moses, and to David. The Savior of humanity, the countless descendants of Abraham, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, the everlasting Kingdom of David, is about to be born: Emmanuel – God with us – Jesus the Christ. And it all comes down to the decision of this teenage girl, to say “Yes” to God’s messenger, Gabriel.
Mary might not have fully understood at that moment what her response – “I am the handmaid of the Lord” – would mean. But her obedience to God has made the life of every human being worth living. And she is now given as a model for all of us to follow.
Once more, Scripture is not just telling a story from history. It is revealing to you and me how God enters our lives and how we can personally respond to God’s invitation. You see, Mary’s response makes it possible for you and me to respond. However, if I fail to say “yes” to God’s invitation myself, then Mary’s “yes” means nothing to me. It doesn’t help me in the least!
So, in these days before Christmas, you and I must ponder, as did Mary, what God offers us through the message of Gabriel. Am I ready to believe that God has chosen me to receive a Savior, a King, the fulfillment of my life? You and I need to take the Scriptures this intimately personal – it is as much for each of us today as it was for Mary – and we each need to respond personally – my “yes” which will change my life forever!
Christmas is not a memory of an historical birth; it is God coming to each of us to bring you and me the reason to live and the source of our everlasting life! So, what do you say?
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.