2 Samuel 7:1-5, Romans 16:25-27, Luke 1: 26-38
Prologue: In 1989 Beth and I had 4 Children. Youngest at 6 Years old. It was time for her to go back to Teaching. 6 months into the school year she became pregnant with our 5th Child. To break the news to the other 4, we called a meeting at the family table. We told them we were expecting a baby. Great joy abounded, excitement was rampant. Things went normally. Then when Dan was about 8 moths old, again we found out that Beth was pregnant again. This one was tougher to endure. Yet we called the family to the table and told them we were expecting again. At this news everyone just broke down and bald. How are we going to do it.
Every birth or marriage announcement brings something to the table and it demands people to prepare. I now that we would do it all over again and the only lament would be the tear that we spent.
1. Gabriel’s announcement and Mary’s acceptance in the Gospel to be the Mother of the Messiah was a PIVOTOL moment in salvation History. It was the moment when all that the prophets had spoken about, began to be FULLFILLED. It’s where, as Paul declares in our Epistle, that the MYSTERIES kept SECRET since before the foundation of the world, are NOW to be made KNOWN.
2. I can’t speak much about ‘before the foundations’, but if we start In the Book of Genesis 3:15, just after Adam and Eve had sinned, God pronounced the curse on the snake and punishments on Adam and Eve for their Sin. Yet before they were ushered OUT of the Garden, we heard what we call the ‘Protoevangelium’ or 1st Gospel. In a PROMISE of SALVATION, God told the snake and man, “He would put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. They will strike at your head while you strike at their heals.” Those mysterious words, easy to understand in hind site, were the basis of mankind’s HOPE, that God had not abandoned us to the ‘POWER OF DEATH’.
3. God, at SELECTED times and in a GUARDED way, worked to restore mankind to Himself. In the series of events known as the Covenants, God first spoke with ABRAHAM, where He established the Israelites as His chosen People. With Promises that they would be: 1) A GREAT NATION, 2) a GREAT NAME, and 3) a BLESSING TO ALL NATIONS. Through them, God would eventually reveal His plan of Salvation, to all Nations. In a Covenant with MOSES, God established them in LAND and LAW. By this they became a ‘Great Nation’. Today we are reminded that DAVID in a Covenant, became the King with a promise to make of him an ‘Everlasting House’. This move let them become a ‘Great Name’.
4. To the 1st reading now. A King of Israel was to never have absolute power. Israel’s Kings were servants of God and it was the prophet who communicated God’s instructions to the King. Today, the Prophet Nathan gets the word from God, to go tell David, that He wants to build a ‘HOUSE”, not like the other pagans gods confined to building, but a HOUSE or DYNANSTY that will be everywhere and never end. David also heard, the Heir to the throne would be his son and their son’s after that. And that God would be ‘like a father to them’. He would punish them for misdeeds, but He would never withhold His love from them.
While the lineage was to be on going, for all practical purposes it died out under King Zedekiah; as Jerusalem was Captured, the temple Destroyed and the nation was forced into slavery in Babylon. Through the Promises of other Prophets, the hope of Israel’s Messiah-King to bring Salvation would drag on.
5. So 500 years later when the angel Gabriel speaks to Mary, who along with Joseph her spouse, was of the House of David, Mary and the whole Israelite Nation, would especially recall Nathan’s prophecy. The Messiah, the one who would restore Israel, would be a descendant of the House of David.
In the Gospel, what was announced by the Angel Gabriel not only full filled Nathan’s Prophecy, but also many others. Mary is also seen in the Gospel as the ‘Woman’ whose ‘Offspring’ will crush the serpent. Mary is also seen as the ‘Virgin’ who would bear a son. Mary is the ‘Daughter of Zion’ who would rejoice in her King. For all things to be accepted, Jesus and Mary would have to be seen as the full fillment of all PROPHECIES made, concerning the Messiah.
6. In the 2nd reading we are no longer waiting for the promises to be fulfilled. Yet , the plan of salvation had not always been fully understood, especially by the Gentiles. For God in His wisdom controlled it’s dissemination. So when Jesus came, the GOOD NEWS of the Promise that ‘the woman and her offspring would crush the serpents head’, was seen to have been full filled, Paul, armed with the knowledge of both the Incarnation and Resurrection, was compelled to spread this WONDERFUL NEWS to the Gentiles…to “Bring all nation to the obedience of Faith”.
7. As we contemplate a world that is mired in sin, we feel liberated, as we rejoice in God’s Gift to the world, through Mary…their Son Jesus. So today on this 4th Sunday of Advent, we can let the Revelry begin ever anew, as we hear the Announcement of Gabriel and Mary’s PIVOTOL words, “Let It be done unto me”. Today, in the Annunciation, as God’s plan of Salvation begins to come true, let HOPE EXPLODE and UNBRIDLED joy break everywhere. HOPE based on the moment God’s Son broke through eternity into time. UNBRIDLE JOY as the Son left heaven’s throne to assume mortal flesh. Our Prayers, our Liturgy, our Singing and even our hearts, should demonstrate our belief in the miracle of the INCARNATION as being the great Mystery hidden before the foundations of the world, now revealed.
With such great news, that a Birth of a Child is coming, we must all prepare for it’s arrival. (For the 5th child Beth and I built a Bedroom and on the 6th we added onto the Kitchen.) We must prepare spiritually as well. In this PIVITOL moment of Advent, spend more time in prayer, give more to charity and for yourself, Go to confession. Let Jesus CRUSH the serpent heads of sin in your life, let Jesus CRUSH the burden of the hardships in life because only JESUS can save us from the ‘Power of Death’. Jesus is the ‘Blessing to all Nations”.