Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Catholic Reflections 642 : Homily Fourth Sunday Advent. Year B – 24/12/2017

Homily Fourth Sunday Advent. Year B – 24/12/2017
[-RH-]

First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-5. 8-12. 14. 16
Psalm: Ps 88:2-5. 27. 29. “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”
Second Reading: Romans 16:25-27
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
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Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Fourth Sunday Advent. Year B - 24/12/2017 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/advent-4b-faith-hope-and-love
 (EPISODE: 64)
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We keep in our prayers and thoughts all those injured or in any way ffected by the awful Flinders Street incident in Melbourne, Australia, after a car crashed into a large group of pedestrians.  We pray for them with heavy hearts. We thank God for the wonderful caring response of all who come to the aid of people in time of need. 

In this weekend’s readings, the wonderful news of the Annunciation to Mary occurred more than two thousand years ago.  The message Mary received was the start of the fulfilment of God's promise, made to King David one thousand years before that.  That timeline is so long that it is hard to comprehend.   
 
God has a very, very long memory. The people of Israel hoped and trusted in God’s promise to King David.  And as the years went on, (and there were many years); ………that hope was boosted, and then seemingly shattered…   then rebuilt.    
 
The people of God had an up-and-down relationship with  God's promises. Sometimes they remembered God's promises with deep expectant hope. Other times they would remember God's promises with impatience.  With frustration, sometimes even bitterness, scepticism…and resentment. Other times they would remember God’s promises with hope. And all the while, God bided his time and was quietly at work preparing the groundwork that would take centuries to bring to fruition….  ..God thinks in hundreds of years….
 
God remembers everything with a loving heart and a determination to fulfil what God has promised.  But it is always in God's own time..  and in God's own way….According to God’s wisdom, not human wisdom. God is patient: unlike humans who often demand the future occur right here and right now.  -We only ever see part of the picture; because our lifespan is comparatively short.    
 
And now we arrive at the wonderful scene of the Annunciation.  After all this time, (-in the fullness of time), God's promise is fulfilled at the home of a humble maiden.
 
Here we can learn our response from Mary the right response to God's message:  “Be it done to me according to your word.”  If only we could all learn to respond to the Lord in such a wonderful way as Mary did!  May we more readily and with joy proclaim:  Be it done to me according to your word!”  
 
Mary is the model for all of us who want to follow God's ways.  She was a humble servant of God who was faithful to the Lord.  In her lowliness, God chose her for the most important role:  the mother of His Son.  …..
 
This weekend's gospel, for the closing Sunday of Advent is all about the greatness of the word "YES" in Mary's life and in the lives of all of us who want to be Disciples of Christ. Mary's trust in God's promise is absolute. Mary continues to live according to God's ways, even when the events in her life are confusing and worrying and disorientating.  
 
Mary's words in response to the announcement of the angel Gabriel are both profound and also very simple. Her simple "yes" changed the world. Surely, the universe paused in a silent hush in the silent moments between the Angel announcing the message and Mary responding with such loving positivity. With that response, Mary welcomed God in a special way into her life. She literally made a home for God in her life. Her "yes" is the response we can say daily as we welcome Jesus into our lives.
 
It would be a tragedy if Mary’s “yes” was the last “yes” in human history! In fact, Mary’s YES becomes the pattern for a many more YES’es …….. The Hebrew word “Amen” means “yes,”… That is,“let it be so”……. And we say this “yes/ Amen” every time we come forward for the Communion at Eucharist. We say yes, we will be the house where God, in Jesus, makes his home.
  
We are saying YES>……We will take the divine life of God into our bodies, - by the body and blood of Our Lord. And we too say “Let it be done to us, according to your word.” So……   as amazing and wonderful as if seems… The truth is: God’s last known address is….within YOU !
 
The wonderful thing about today’s readings is that they remind us that God truly is with us always…. This Advent time of preparation is to more deeply appreciate that Christmas is the feast of God making his home with us. .. God became one with us and dwells in our hearts and in our lives.   
 
God is always with us………   as near as a heartbeat…..  as close as our own humanity itself……..    and God wants us to follow Mary’s example… and say YES to what God is building in our lives……   to say YES… to helping transform the world by “lives built on the good news of Jesus”……    
 
Daily, we have God’s presence and action so close to us, as to be part of us……
  
Mary was a woman of faith. She believed in God and in the wonderful things God had done not only for her but also for her people over many, many centuries…. She remembered Abraham, Moses, Deborah, David, and all the men and women throughout history who God had chosen to help the people keep their faith.  
 
In joy, Mary rejoices in the goodness of God who shares our life.  Loved by God, we, too, rejoice in God's coming and gladly welcome God into our lives.  
 
One thing I find really striking and challenging.  Mary’s wonderful reply to the Angel was very down-to-earth and with no puffed-up pride. She answers: "I am God's servant !!"   The idea of being a servant (or a slave) seems difficult in this day and age. Slavery has been abolished. People are free and equal. So, what do we make of Mary saying to God, "I am your servant. I am your humble slave; let it be done to me according to your word”?  
Briefly put:  We are here to do things God's way, not our way.
May this Advent bring us all closer to the Lord because He is always close to us.
  God loves us and sends His Son to save us.   Mary intercedes for us as we learn from her complete trust in God's plan and learn to serve her Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.  
 
We say  YES to God’s invitation to cooperate in the constant work of building up God’s Kingdom, … not only in heaven .. but here and now… in this life. May this coming Christmas celebration be a time of incredible renewal and peace as we allow God’s grace to strengthen and build upon our YES…..    Inspired by Mary’s great YES to God…

O Wisdom, Holy Word of God, Jesus Christ, all things are in your hands, come and show us the way to salvation.
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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

Celebrating the Gospels.

My Daily Visitor, Nov-Dec 2011.

Monastery Of Christ In The Desert. Abbot's Homily.http://christdesert.org 

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Archive of homilies and reflections: http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au
To contact Fr. Paul, please email:  paulwkelly68@gmail.com
To listen to my weekly homily audio podcast, please click this link here. It is often a week or so Ahead:  https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/tracks
You are welcome to subscribe to Fr Paul’s homily mail-out by sending an email to this address: paulkellyreflections+subscribe@googlegroups.com
 
Fourth Sunday Advent. Year B
(Sunday, December 24, 2017)
(EPISODE: 64 )
On this last Weekend of Advent, we now light the fourth CANDLE – (purple) THE ANGEL CANDLE or THECANDLE OF LOVE – The angels announced the good news of a Saviour. God sent his only Son to earth to save us, because he loves us!
O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Saviour of all people, come and set us free.  
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The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
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before hearing the word of God, and sharing the Bread of life,  
sing praise to Christ, the Alpha and Omega.
 
KYRIE ELEISON/ CHRISTE ELEISON/ KYRIE ELEISON
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.
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Memorial Acclamation
We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.
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AdventII
Euch prayer III
Communion side.  pwk:  RH
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Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

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