Sunday readings in brief 4 Advent A
Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalms 23(24); Romans 1:1-7; Mathew 1:18-24
The Plan of Salvation
Dear friends, today is the 4th Sunday of Advent Year C. Next Sunday will be the Feast of the Birth of Our Saviour Jesus Christ – Christmas Day/Noel. Today’s readings focus on the Blessed Virgin Mary, the woman who gave birth to our Saviour. This was prefigured during the time of King Ahaz of Israel through the prophecy of Isaiah, that a virgin would give birth to a King. At this time, Judah (Jerusalem) was being attacked by Assyria who had found an ally in Israel. Ahaz was forced to pay heavy taxes and the enemy occupied Judah. The child prophesied was King Ezekiel who became a good king and a true Immanuel – God with his people. However, Ezekiel did not meet all the expectations of the true Messiah Son of David and henceforth the hope of another Messiah remained. This hope would be fulfilled when the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ who was a descendant of King David through Joseph.
In his writings about incarnation, St. Athanasius says that “for the Son of God became man so that man might become God”. The project of salvation was initiated by God himself but was carried out by human beings. God in his might and power would have chosen numberless ways to come to save his people. However, he chose to carry out his plan throughout human history, and for many generations, the message of salvation was preached until finally, he came to us in our own nature and form.
We can trace the Chronology of salvation history from the very creation to today. Creation – We believe that God created everything that exists – and that He created a universe that was good. …, Covenant with Abraham. …, the Exodus and Moses. …, the Kings of Israel. …, Prophets. …, Jesus Christ. …, Jesus’ Suffering, Death, and Resurrection. …, Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church.
In every generation, God calls people to continue his mission of saving the world. During the Old Testament, God lifted up kings and prophets who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, carried out his plans with the hope of restoring man and woman’s original status that was destroyed by the original sin. After the coming of Jesus Christ, God continued to raise apostles who, through the power of the same Holy Spirit, continue to take the message of salvation, already effected, to people of all nations. You and I, through Baptism, have received the mission to preach the Good News of salvation to others through our words and deeds.
St. Joseph, Jesus’ foster father is a great example for us today. Just like any of us, Joseph was astonished to learn that his spouse Mary was with a child that he was not responsible for. However, unlike many men in his time, Joseph did not think of disgracing Mary by reporting her pregnancy to the elders but rather decided to leave quietly. It is at this point that God brought him on board in his magnificent plan of salvation. Perhaps this was a test for Joseph and he passed it very well. Likewise, God has his plan and all of us are called to take part in it. However, many of us fail the test and are not able to carry out God’s plans for us as individuals and for the World through us.
Having been in active missionary work at the grass-root for a while now, I can testify that God always approaches us to carry out specific tasks to bring salvation in the world. Nevertheless, God will never arm-twist or coax anyone in any way but rather seeks our voluntary participation. If we manifest our willingness, though in itself a gift from him, he gradually unveils his plans to us and assists us on the way as he did to Joseph. Remember his call to many before us (Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, and others), and how he helped them overcome their weaknesses to become monuments of faith.
Dear friends, as we begin the last week of advent that will lead us to Christmas, I invite us to look into our lives and see whether we are cooperating with God in his plan to save the world or if we are obstacles. If we dispose ourselves to God, he will reveal his wonders to us but if we ignore his promptings, we will die without realizing his plans for us.
Have a blessed Sunday.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD