Fourth Sunday in Advent 2019

In the Homily given at Holy Mass last Thursday, we recalled that the incarnation of the Son of God, which we celebrate at Christmas, first of all it communicates God’s passion for human history; God saves us in history, not preparing salvation  in a laboratory which means, that He walks the road with us and makes use of our life to construct history. The feelings of discouragement, to the intervals of excessive modesty or lamentable attitude of believers, we recall the closeness of a God who lowers Himself, trusts us, needs our collaboration and even our mistakes and, therefore, He involves us in the history of salvation as responsible protagonists and not as passive recipients.

This reality is beautifully symbolised for us by Mary’s life and faith. This fourth Sunday of Advent closes the path of preparation for the coming of the Lord, introducing us to the intrepid faith of His Mother, His smallness which nevertheless opens up to the speculation of God and allows for the dream of a liberated humanity that the Father intends to accomplish by sending His Son into our midst. Of Mary, of His listening, of His generous availability and His “fiat”, God made use to build a new history, to begin “the new heavens and the new lands”, writing the word of “salvation” upon the existence of men!

Leafing through the Liturgy of the Word, starting at the Second Book of Samuel, we could say that God, in His love, chose to build His house among us, to plant His tent, stooping down to accompany us. But first of all, He needs a “home” to become a hospitable temple for His coming and finds it in Mary Most Holy. To the prophet David, who intends to build a great temple to “house” the Ark of the Covenant, God calls to mind through the prophet that: “the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.”  This is the wonderful “exchange” of logic that works within God: it is not we, primarily, who have to do something for Him but it is He who leans down to our humanity to transform it. It is God who makes us a welcoming home, a refuge and a consolation, a shelter and a rest.

If this project of love takes place thanks to Mary’s yes, then she is home, she is the ark, she is a temple, she is a welcoming space for the Messiah who is born. She welcomes Him to present Him to the world and, thus, becomes the dawn of hope for humanity and contributor to the history that God wants to build. It is therefore important to grasp the reference to Christ within this Gospel passage and how the Mother is great precisely because she shifts the attention to the Son, makes us fix our gaze on Him, she refers us to Him. The Gospel of the Annunciation, therefore A few days before Christmas, He intends first of all to make it clear to Mary and to us, who really about to be born and who He is: “you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High”. The Son to be born is the Son of God, he is the heir of king David – to whom for this reason God had said “the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house” – it is God who will reign forever, fulfilling the promises of justice, of peace and salvation for all of humanity.

Finally, of the Annunciation to Mary we can also highlight the style of God: He comes to any place, in the ordinariness of the life, to an ordinary girl. God is always at the centre of our daily life, in the outermost fringes and the most unassuming, with small and silent gestures. It does not only touch us during the solemn liturgies or powerful professions but, with the Father’s love, it also touches upon every aspect of our daily lives, during our burdensome intermittent routines, in our daily sobriety. And to decisively pronounce a magnanimous “yes”, like that of Mary, thus permitting our transformation of life upon us and the world.

We are few days from Christmas, le us pledge to not allow ourselves to be distracted by the noise and by shimmering lights, let us learn from Mary. From her we learn faith, which offers us a collaboration with God’s story of our history, focusing not only on our limitations and our errors but, trusting instead, in His action which can do great things within us and that, in this manner, our history can help transform the world; we learn hospitality, which means ensuring that we become the house where God is born, to welcome Him in intimacy as well as in the countenances of our brothers, especially the poorest; we learn a love for daily life, which means searching for and finding the traces of God in every small thing, in small gestures, in remaining vigilant and paying attention to what happens within and around us. May Mary Most Holy enlighten us, guide us and fill our hearts with joy in expectation of the Lord who is coming.

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