From the Pulpit: Dec 24, 2017 (4th Sunday of Advent)

December 24, 2017 Fourth Sunday of Advent

Introduction

Are you prepared?

In these last hours before Christmas we meet two individuals in our readings for this fourth Sunday of Advent.
➢ We meet king David as well as the Blessed Virgin Mary.
➢ In a sense both were prepared, but not in the way that they had anticipated.

First reading
In our first reading from the Book of Samuel, King David has big plans to build God A magnificent temple.
➢ David has grown old with age and now has come to the end of his life.
➢ As he ponders what has happened and the circumstances that brought him to be king, he believes that he must now complete his reign by the construction of a temple dedicated to the Lord.
➢ No doubt, David had seen other splendid structures built by surrounding peoples to honor their gods.
➢ Now David wanted to build something himself because, up to this point, the Lord had dwelt in a large tent that had been erected on top of the hill overlooking the city of Jerusalem.
➢ David believes that God wanted him to construct a stone structure to replace this tent.

David and Nathan
So, David calls and Nathan the prophet and tells him that he’s planning on building a temple for the Lord.
➢ Nathan responds, “go ahead and do it I think it’s a good idea.”
➢ In the meantime, Nathan has a dream and the Lord tells him that he has always dwelt in a tent and does not want to change now.
➢ However, the Lord tells Nathan to tell King David that he intends to build him a house.
➢ This word “house” is interesting because it has two meanings: In one sense it could be a house like a building or in another sense the word “house” can mean a family or descendants.
➢ Of course, that’s what the Lord means for David.
➢ He promises that his house or his descendants and his kingdom will endure forever.
➢ Here in lies the promise to David that the Messiah will come from his descendants.

Gospel
Our gospel for today is the familiar story of the annunciation.
➢ Here we find out that God is faithful to his promises. He promised David that he would build him a house in the sense of ancestry that would ultimately reign forever.
➢ Additionally, The Messiah would come from David’s lineage.
➢ We meet the blessed virgin Mary in today’s gospel,
➢ Remarkably, she is a girl of only 14 or 15 years of age.
➢ No doubt, she had prayed time and time again, as with all of Israel, for the coming of the Messiah.
➢ Little did she realize, that she was about to be a part of the unfolding of God’s plan for the coming of the Messiah.
➢ Her prayer, and that of all Israel is about to be answered beyond all expectations.
➢ The angel announces to her that God has chosen her, from among all women, to be the mother of the Savior.
➢ Yes, she would bring forth the long awaited Messiah for all of Israel. Beyond her wildest dreams, this Messiah would be God himself.
➢ Yes, Israel hoped that a Messiah would come. Perhaps he would be a prophet, King, or a warrior. No one expected that it would be God himself.

Annunciation
As the angel comes to Mary he asks her for the most difficult mission of all. He asks if she would agree to be the mother of the Savior.
➢ If you notice, the angel Gabriel gives very few details on how this would be accomplished other than it would be by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.
➢ Remarkably, the Virgin Mary put herself totally at the disposal of God and his plan with those words, “I am the handmade of the Lord. Let it be done and to me as you say.”

Preparation
In the lives of both King David and the Blessed Virgin Mary God reveals the unfolding of his plan.
➢ Yes both were eager and prepared for what God would ask of them.
➢ However, if you noticed God asked them to change their plans.
➢ David’s plan to build a house for God radically changed.
➢ Similarly, the Blessed Virgin Mary‘s plans for her own life were changed by the announcement of the angel Gabriel.
➢ So too, time and time again, God asks us to change our plans as well. We are now in the last hours of Advent.
➢ The celebration of the Lord’s nativity is just around the corner.
➢ There are two things that emerge from our readings today.
1. As Christmas comes, we need to be spiritually prepared.                                                                                                                                                                           2. At the same time, in our celebration with family, friends and worship, just like David and Mary, the Lord may ask us to change our plans as well.
3. Let us be prepared!
4. Come Lord Jesus.