Ready to Receive Mary’s Child, Emmanuel
Readings: (1st: Ish 7, 10-14; Ps: 23, 1-6; 2nd: Rom 1, 1- 7; Gos: Mtt 1, 18-24)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. In a couple of days from now our expectations shall be fulfilled and our efforts and patience justified by the birth of the Messiah. These few days calls for more caution and vigilance.
The sign that God revealed to us on this last Sunday of Advent is highly significant. God’s choice of the messiah was from the house of David. However, Mary’s child belongs to all nations. So, we all form part of the nations. This is through God’s love, and his invitation to share in the Christ’s heritage. Hence, Christ is coming for the sake of all of us.
In the first reading of this Sunday, God gave us the greatest and most definitive signs about the Messiah: “A maiden is with child, and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Emmanuel, which means God is with us!” It is important to note that this sign was given to king Ahaz only after he humbled himself by refusing to put God to test.
Hence the lessons here include that, we must allow God to be God without trying to preempt him. Second, we must learn to trust in God’s judgment, and his good will for us. Third, we need not run after signs anymore because, God has given us the fullness of revelation in Jesus Christ. The fourth, is that, if we humble ourselves, God will reveal to us, “the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ” (Eph 1, 9).
Both the second reading and the gospel of today are narratives about the birth and life of Christ. They remind us that the signs that God gave to us through the prophets, (that is, the signs which are the foundation of our hope this season), are not flatus vocis (empty words). Rather, they are true and fulfilled in Christ.
Hence, in the second reading, Paul reminds us of the promises that came through the words of the prophets. Here, he highlighted three very important facts. First, he reminds us of Christ’s divine origin and nature: “This is the good news about Christ, the son of God.” Second, he reminds us of Christ’s human origin and nature: “…Who according to the human nature he took was from the descendant of David…” All these were to assure us that Christ is really the promised Messiah. The third fact is about our relationship to Christ. That is, how we fit into God’s plan, and his economy of salvation: “You are one such nations, and by his call belong to Jesus Christ.” Through this, Paul reminds us of our heritage Christ.
In today’s gospel, Matthew narrates “how Jesus was born.” Like Paul, Matthew in his infancy narrative traced Jesus’ linage back to the dynasty of king David. This is also meant to assure us (as Paul did), that Jesus is really the promised messiah. In this narrative, Mathew highlighted the very important and central role played by Mary and Joseph. They were God’s instruments for fulfilling His mission of salvation for us. This teaches us that God is active in our history and lives, and that He comes to us through human instruments.
Finally, as we expect the coming of the Messiah, each one of us must make himself available as a worthy instrument. We must be ready to cooperate with God as Mary and Joseph did, in order that the promises of God might be fulfilled through us. Also, we have to allow ourselves to be instruments through which God could save humanity. So, in whatever capacity God calls us to participate in the economy of salvation, let us cooperate with him as Mary and Joseph did today.
Peace be with you!