Saturday, December 25, 2010

Homily for 4th Sunday of Advent

I'm a bit slow in posting this

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Skies, let the Just One come forth like the dew, let him descend from the clouds like the rain. The earth will open up and give birth to our Saviour. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims the work of his hands

This verse, rooted in Isaiah, is a translation for the opening antiphon assigned to the Mass today.

One of the things I remember from my boy scout days is wilderness survival lessons. There was a secret for collecting water over night, even in most dry climates. One would dig a hole, place a cup in the bottom of the whole put a piece of plastic over the hole and secure it in place with dirt around the edges. One would then put a rock in the middle of the piece of plastic to create a low spot over the cup. Over night, dew would collect on the underside of the plastic, roll down to the low point created by the rock and drip into the cup. This bit of dew fall could save a person’s life.

At the time of Isaiah, the people were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the messiah. The image of the life giving water from heaven in the form of dew fall, or rain, was evident. The messiah would save the life of the people of Israel.

What the people of Israel did not expect was that the long awaited messiah would come to the world as a simple child. Despite the word of the prophet Isaiah, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel”, many were looking for a temporal messiah. They were looking for one who would lead them triumphantly over their enemies.

When the events from today’s Gospel started to occur, there were many who would not accept this child as the messiah. As he grew older, they did not understand his teachings about having come from the Father, having come down from heaven and returning to heaven.

We have the benefit of knowing the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey said. We know that this child, born simply in time, is the Savior of the world.

We are now in the time of immediate preparation for the celebration of the Nativity next Saturday. Last week we heard, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I say again rejoice. The Lord is near.” As we prepare for our celebration, let us take time to reflect upon the story. I would suggest that as we prepare for Christmas, that we take some time to read the beginning of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Both contain the true story of Christmas.

Let us also continue to pray in the spirit of the opening antiphon that the Lord would send down the life saving dew into our own lives. As I said last week, as we fall in love with Christ, we have reason to rejoice. As we realize all that Christ does and has done for us, including coming among us in time, we realize the love God shares with us. This is the source of our love for Him and for each other.

May God bless each one of you as you prepare for the celebration of Christmas.
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