Sunday, December 24, 2017

Homily for Today

Welcome my brothers and sisters in Jesus to today's celebration of the Holy Mass that commemorates the Fourth Sunday of Advent. In three days, we will unite again to celebrate the coming of the Light of God into the world. Today, we will review the fulfillment of God's promise of the coming Heavenly Kingdom through Christ. Of His Kingdom there will be no end.

Beginning with today's First Reading [2 Sam. 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16] from the Second Book of Samuel, we heard that when David was king over the Jewish people, God had brought peace to his land. Through King David, God had delivered the nation from all its enemies. 

In appreciation for the greatness of the Lord God's victory over His enemies, king David went to the prophet Nathan, expressing his concern that while he was living in a beautiful wooden house of cedar, the Lord God dwelled in a tent. Now, a tent might have been suitable for God when His people were moving around because of persecution. But now that their home had been established and their victory had been secured, surely, God deserved something better than a tent.

Hearing king David's concern for a dwelling place for God, the prophet Nathan told him that God was with him. As such, he should do whatever his heart calls him to do so God may have his rightful place among His people. But, God had other plans! That night, He spoke to Nathan, telling him to give a message to His servant king David.

In a way, God's words went like this: "Oh yea, are you, king David really going to build a house for Me, your God, to live in? Who took you from the field where you were a shepherd who followed the sheep to place you as a prince over Israel? Have I not been with you everywhere you went? Did I not destroy your enemies before your eyes?"

What God was implying was that no human being could build a house that could hold God? A house is not good enough. An eternal Kingdom is better. And no one but God could build an eternal Kingdom!

Considering king David's love for God and his righteous heart that desired to provide the best for the Lord, God made a promise to king David.

In simple words, God said, "I will raise your name like the name of the great prophets so it will be remembered forever. I will personally select a place for My people and I will firmly establish them so they may live in their own place. No one will ever force them to move or oppress them again as has been happening since the days when judges were appointed over the people. The people will find rest from their enemies."

God continued by saying that He would bless king David with children. And after king David has died, from his offspring, God would establish His Kingdom.

At this point, it is important to note that God is referring to someone who will descend from king David. The Kingdom that will be established will be "His" Kingdom (with a capital H). God continued by saying that He would be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Him. To clarify this, the Heavenly Father was talking about being a Father to Jesus and Jesus being a Son to Him.

God finished by saying that through Him, through Jesus, king David's family tree and His Kingdom shall be remembered forever by the Lord. The throne of king David shall be established forever. 

Keeping in mind other contents of the Holy Scriptures, when we summarize what God had just said, we heard of His promise that at the coming of Jesus, God would establish His Heavenly Kingdom. The Kingdom would be establish at that time, not later in time, not 1,000 years later or 2,000 years later, but at the time of the coming of Jesus as the Messiah, as God incarnated.

During today's Second Reading [Rom. 16:25-27] from the Book of Romans, we heard Saint Paul tell us that God is able to strengthen us in the Spirit of Truth. Through the words (the gospel) of St. Paul, God makes known to us His mysteries. God spiritually disposes the minds of the believers who hear the proclamation of Jesus, He Who revealed God's mystery that was kept secret for centuries and which has now been revealed. This knowledge and understanding of the Divine wisdom of God's mysteries through Christ was made known to all (the Gentiles) according to the Divine Will of God, to bring everyone in obedience to God through faith in Christ. For the eternal glory belongs to Jesus Christ.

In other words, St. Paul was saying, listen to and obey the words of Jesus Christ. For through Jesus, the salvation of mankind has come to all, the Jewish nation and the Gentiles. The Kingdom of God has come on earth as it is in Heaven. It is not a Kingdom that can be seen but rather a spiritual Kingdom. [Jn. 18:36] God's Kingdom is among you. [Lk. 17:20-1] Through Jesus, you will find the complete fulfillment of God's promises to the prophets.
[In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect, and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. (Catholic Catechism # 65)]
How did all this come to pass? Today's last Reading from the Gospel of Luke [Lk. 1:26-38] answers that question.

God sent an angel called Gabriel to a small town in Galilee called Nazareth. The angel appeared to a virgin called Mary who was engaged to be married to Joseph, a descendant of the house of David.

According to the Rheims, 1582 A.D. English translation of the Latin Vulgate Version of the Holy Bible, the angel said to Mary, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." [Lk. 1:18] Imagine an angel appearing to you and saying those words. Surely, you will answer, "What?" Being human as we are, but free from all traces of sins, the Blessed Virgin Mary was also confused and wondered what kind of greeting she was receiving. 

Then the angel said to Mary, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God." To find "favour with God' means that the grace of God is with you. It also means that God has chosen you. Continuing, the angel said, "you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." 

In response to the words of the angel Gabriel, Mary said, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" By now, the Blessed Virgin Mary must have really been confused. An angel appeared to her. He tells her that she will have a Son when she is a virgin. He tell her that her Son will inherit the throne of David when the Jewish people no longer has any kings ruling over them. And he tells her that her Son's Kingdom will be eternal. In other words, thinking worldly, it was like saying that the Son of Mary would never die so that He could rule eternally over His Kingdom.

After all, were the people of the Jewish nation not waiting for a worldly Kingdom to come? That was their understanding of God's prophetic Words. God never said that He would establish an earthly Kingdom but rather an eternal Kingdom.

To add to all these impossibilities, the angel said to Mary that she would become pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit and that her Son will be holy, He being the Son of God.

As a sign to the Blessed Virgin Mary that all this was truthful, the angel announced that her cousin Elizabeth who was in her old age would also conceive a son, she presently being six months pregnant.

Hoping against all hopes, the Blessed Virgin Mary, submitted herself to the Divine Will of God and answered, "Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." After all nothing was impossible to Almighty God. The Blessed Virgin Mary, as a young Jewish girl, was very familiar with the Scriptures. She knew of all the great things that God had done for her people, how He freed them from slavery, how He divided the Red Sea, how He brought them to the Promised Land, etc...

Then the angel departed.

Today's Readings revealed to us that there will be no end to the Kingdom of Jesus. In three days, Christmas Day will descend upon us. On that day, we will commemorate the arrival of Jesus in the world as the promised Messiah to establish His Divine Kingdom in fulfillment of God's promises.

As we continue to celebrate the Holy Mass, let us remember that the Lord Jesus is with us, here and now, having established His spiritual Kingdom on earth on the Day of Pentecost. May we remember that by partaking in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in the visible Body of Christ, we are participating in a great feast that is taking place in the invisible Kingdom of God on earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment