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Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 20, 2020

Fr. Joseph Jacobi

How humble is God! God asks for a human body in order to save the human race, and then waits for Mary’s response.

How humble is God! While nothing is impossible with God, it would have been impossible without Mary. God will not force her consent, but asks and waits for her reply, and the whole world holds its breath.

Salvation is from above, the gift of heaven, yet it springs from human soil, from a particular human being cooperating with God, being open and receptive to God’s plan.

Mary freely chooses to exchange her limited imagination for the promises of God. She chooses to trust that God can do more for her and for the world through her than she can even imagine.

God the Father longs for His Son to be born by faith in us today by the power of the Holy Spirit. God longs to come more fully to life in us and asks for our bodies to do His saving work.

Imagine for one moment the trust God places in each one of us to do this. God keeps asking for our consent and waiting for our reply, humbly and with great patience.

For the way Christ Jesus comes into the world today is through particular human persons, through specific human bodies.

Too many Christians tend to think of God’s plan in a general way— that God has a plan for the earth and the people of the earth and is working out that plan out there somewhere.

But the Incarnation, God taking human flesh, reveals the “scandal of particularity.” There is nothing “general” about it.

God chooses a particular time (in the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy) and a particular place (tiny Nazareth in the back country of Israel) and a particular person (Mary, a virgin betrothed to Joseph).

So, God chooses you at this time (Dec. 20, 2020) in this particular place (Mustang, which is kind of like Nazareth, an out of the way place) to continue his saving work. God has a plan for you to bring his Son into the world to people and places where no one else can do so—only you can. But God will not force this mission upon you, or me, but daily, with great humility, waits for our “Yes”.

From the beginning of salvation history, God has been a “traveling” God, a “companion” to people of faith who surrender to Him in love. The God of Israel, the God of Jesus Christ, cannot be relegated to this or that “holy” place, to a house of worship, but desires to dwell with his people in their houses.

God goes with Abraham and Sarah on their long journey of faith. God accompanies Moses and the rag-tag bunch of freed Hebrew slaves, picking up and going with the people day-by-day on their travels through the desert to the Promised Land.

When David wants to build a “house” for God, God reminds David that God cannot be contained in a house, locked away in a holy place. God reminds David how God had been with David tending the sheep, helped him slay the giant Goliath, accompanied David on his many forays into the field of battle, and been with him as he ruled Israel day by day.

We come to this place to renew and deepen our relationship with the God who walks with us in our daily life. This beautiful place is a waystation along the journey, a place to be fed by Word and Sacrament and Community in order to be strengthened for our mission. For we are to bring the Lord we encounter and receive here into the many nooks and crannies of our daily life. So that the Lord who feeds us with his love on Sunday morning can feed others with his love through us on Monday thru Saturday.

The way the God of King David, the God of the Virgin Mary breaks into our world anew is through each one of us. But the God of power and might can only do this with our consent, with our YES! As Mary’s “Yes” changed the world forever, so the world will be forever changed by our “Yes.”

Can we say YES:
To living simply
To giving generously
To caring deeply
To speaking boldly
To walking by faith and not by sight
To saying courageously with Mary:
“May it be done to me according to your word.”