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12/23/18 Fourth Sunday in Advent - Fr. Damian

"God so loved the world": We can never fathom God's love for us, for each one of us. This is beyond all knowledge, beyond all imagining. The readings for today take us to the deep mystery of God's love for us. Human that we are, we can understand this only in a limited way. But we do try to contemplate his love and be moved to a generous and faithful response.

God is really Father and Mother to us, with no desire and delight other than to give happiness and joy to us, his/her children. God's plans are bathed in mystery and gradually unfold in their glorious fulfillment.

God chooses what the world considers little or of no significance: "too small among the clans," a barren woman in her old age, a young maiden newly betrothed, small towns in Galilee and Judea. He uses what is ordinary and graces them with extraordinary grandeur.

He sends his only begotten Son, "born of the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God," to be "made flesh," "to have his tent pitched among us," "by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary.." Born as a little infant in a manger, he grew into manhood in an ordinary carpenter's household. Truly human, he gradually came to the consciousness of his own identity and mission in life.

 

 

Needed in God's plan were the cooperation, obedience and surrender of men and women to carry our God's great plan. Announced to an unbelieving Zechariah by an angel, barren Elizabeth bore John the Precursor in her old age. Invited by the angel Gabriel Mary the young maiden gave her fiat, "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said," Joseph her husband, the just man, quietly followed God's wishes told him in dreams.

It is amazing to see the joy which comes in the fulfillment of God's will. An angel proclaimed great joy, "Don't be afraid; I am here to give you good news, great joy for all the people." The shepherds who visited the baby lying in the manger "returned giving glory and praise to God for all they had heard and seen."

Zechariah sang God's praises at the birth of his son John, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has come and redeemed his people." Mary sang with great joy, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my savior!"

May we too join them in singing God's praises and relishing God's goodness with great joy.

FINALLY, WE PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ASKED OUR PRAYERS AND FOR THOSE WHO NEED OUR PRAYERS THE MOST.

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