Reflection: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Mic.5:1-4; Ps.79; 2nd Reading – Heb.10:5-10; Gospel – Lk.1:39-44]

“… BLESSED …”

As we approach our final preparations and last steps towards the celebration of the birth of the Christ, we ask ourselves “What preparations have we done?” On the First Sunday of Advent, we were told to “STAY AWAKE” and watch ourselves. On the Second Sunday of Advent, we were told to “PREPARE A WAY…” for the Lord. On the Third Sunday of Advent, i.e. last Sunday, we were told to rejoice for the Lord is in our midst, and yet we were asked to continue to prepare ourselves for his coming: hence we were urged to ask “WHAT MUST WE DO?” and wait for the answer from the Lord Himself. Today, the Fourth and final Sunday of Advent before the actual celebration of Christmas, we are given the example of Mary, “the Mother of the Lord”, to meditate upon.

Mary was the one who not only knew that God was in and with His people, but she also made space for Him in her. In accepting the invitation of the angel of the Lord, she spiritually and physically made space for the Lord in herself so that through her cooperation with the Holy Spirit, the Son of God could grow to become one of us – a human being – the Emmanuel [God with us]. Thus Mary becomes truly a model for all of us in as much as:

#    She was “awake” and watching for the Messiah and therefore knew that God was in the midst of His people even though she did not know who might be the Messiah or when He was to come!!!

#    She was “preparing a way” for the Lord in her own way. She was ready to listen to what the angel (the messenger of God) had to tell her and she was ready to see the salvation of the Lord according to what was being told to her.

#    She asked the same question “What must I do?” when she was told what was to happen in her and through her and that it was by the will of the Holy Spirit. In doing so, she was ready to put herself totally as the Servant of the Lord!

#    She merited the title of “Blessed” among women because she believed that the promise made to her by the Lord would be fulfilled.

In today’s readings, we are invited to see if we are ready to say (firstly like Jesus and then like Mary) “God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will” (Second Reading). If we are ready to do so, we discover that even though we are common mortals (First Reading), we will be blessed because we believe what seems unbelievable (the Gospel). Thus what we say when we proclaim the response to the Psalm “God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved” can become true if only, like Mary, we make enough space for Him in our life.

“Lord, we are going to celebrate Your birth into the world.  Please Lord, come and live in each and every one of us.  Come and live in me! With Your help, I can make a better space in me and around me.  Thank You Lord!”

 

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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