Father Nathan Homily | December 22, 2019
Father Nathan | Homily
4th Sunday Of Advent
As we approach Christmas, the pace of things speeds up, so that the spiritual side tends to get lost.
Let us pause to make room in our minds and hearts so that Christ may come to us in the Eucharist we are going to celebrate.
The liturgy today deals with the identity of’ the One who was to come,’the identity of the child was vaguely glimpsed in the old testament, Isaiah talked about the coming of a very special child (First reading).
But there is no reason to believe that he knew just how a special that child would be.
No prophesy is fully understood until after its fulfillment. Loving, responsive obedience to God, as modeled for us in the Gospel by St. Joseph, is the central theme of today’s readings, with special emphasis on the Virgin Birth of Jesus.
Scripture lessons summarized:
In Today’s first reading (Is 7:10-14), this reading foretells the birth of a very special child – a child who will be called Emmanuel, that is God is with us.
The prophet Isaiah gives a sign from God to King Ahaz of Judah:
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” —Is 7:14
Responsorial Psalm (Ps 24),
“Let the Lord enter; He is King of Glory”
We are reminded that we must choose to let Jesus enter our hearts to rule our lives, for God never forces us to receive His gifts.
The second reading (Rom 1:1-7)
These opening lines from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans draw attention to the human and divine roots of Jesus.
Paul asserts that Jesus was a descendant of David and thus the Messiah:
“from David according to the flesh” —Rom 1:3
Paul explains that the only begotten Son of God, become Incarnate as Jesus, was revealed and established by the Father as Son of God in power by his Resurrection from the dead.
Then Paul provides a sweeping summary of God’s mighty acts in history through Jesus Christ.
Today’s Gospel (Mt 1: 18-25) This shows the prophesy of Isaiah was fulfilled in Jesus. It focuses on the person and role of Joseph.
For Jesus to fulfill the Messianic prophecy given by Isaiah, Joseph had to, and freely did, accept Jesus as his son, making Jesus a legal descendant of David because Joseph was a descendant of David. Hence, Matthew makes it clear that Jesus was not the biological child of Joseph. But because Joseph was the husband of Mary at the time Jesus was born, Jesus was legally the son of Joseph and thus a descendant of David.
To say that Jesus came from the line of David was already a great thing. But he is more than that. He has another and infinitely greater, indemnity. He is ‘Emmanuel’ which means God is with us. He is not just son of David but also the son of God. Hence he is able to save his people from their sins.
The second identity of Jesus was something which was only gradually revealed and gradually understood. In fact, it was only after he had been raised from the dead that he was accepted as the lord. He himself said this identity could not recognized unless it was revealed by the father. It is a matter of faith.
1) Like Joseph, we need to trust in God, listen to Him and be faithful. Although we may face financial problems, job insecurity, tensions in the family and health concerns, let us try to be like St. Joseph, trusting and faithful.
Instead of relying on our own schemes to get us through life, let us trust in God and be strengthened by talking to Him in fervent prayer and by listening to Him speaking through the Bible.
2) We need to experience Emmanuel in our lives and change the world: The Good News and the consoling message of Christmas is that the Child Jesus still waits today to step into our hearts — your heart and mine — and to change us and the world around us by the beauty of God’s love, kindness, mercy and compassion.
Let us take some time to welcome the Christ Child into our hearts and lives this week, so that God may change our world of miseries with the beauty of that love.
3) Do we have any gift for our “Birthday Boy?” Let us check to see if Jesus is on our list this Christmas and if we have a special gift in mind for him. A heart filled with love for God and our fellow-human beings is the birthday gift which Jesus really wants from us.
Hence, let us prepare our heart for Jesus, filling it with love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness on this Christmas and every day of our lives.
4) Let us be a Christmas gift to others: The greatest gift we can give to those we love, is to have faith in them, believe in their dreams and try to help them realize them.
We need to believe in the dreams of our husband, wife, children, parents, heroes, leaders and friends, then try our best to help them realize those dreams.
Wishing you and Your Family a Very Merry Christmas!
Have a Blessed Week,
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Past Messages from Father Nathan
Prayerful greetings to you. We celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15th. Since it falls on Saturday this year, it is NOT a holy day of obligation, or else it is. The Feast of The Assumption is one of the most important feasts of our Lady.
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