Dec. 18, 2016 - 4th Sunday of Advent, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Mary is pregnant with Jesus. As an expectant mother, she is looking forward to the birth of her child with great joy.
Joseph, on the other hand, is full of anxiety. He is anxious about taking pregnant Mary into his home, especially since the child isn’t his.
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, writes that he is expectant about the coming of Jesus and the obedience of faith that requires.
All of these scriptural figures are in a state of Advent. Expectant, pregnant, looking forward to something with great joy or with a hint of anxiousness.
Advent is a pregnant time, a time of expecting, a time of having or showing an excited feeling that something is about to happen.
Advent is a time of carrying something that is developing within.
Advent calls us to be pregnant, to be expecting, to be cognizant.
Stay awake. Be ready. Prepare the way. Watch. Wait. Expect.
What is it that we are excited about? What are we expecting? What are we preparing for?
What will be born to us this Christmas? Advent is a time to anticipate new birth. What will be born to us?
Will it be a new idea? Maybe we could reflect on the idea that God loves us or the idea that God forgives us of the idea that God calls us into an ever deepening relationship. We could reflect on this idea and begin to allow it to have a new birth within us.
Or maybe it could be developing a virtue. Could we choose one area of sin that we need to work on? We could name the sin and identify the corresponding virtue.
Anger corresponds with forgiveness. Greed corresponds with generosity. Self loathing corresponds with Self acceptance. Impatience corresponds with patience.
Get the idea? Then we could make an effort, a real effort, to work on the virtue.
Or maybe we could read a spiritual book. Again this year we are happy to offer as a Christmas gift, a spiritual read: Rediscovering mercy. Copies are available at all the entrances of the church.
Or maybe there is a new relationship that is growing. Do we have to work on being more loving in our relationships. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not boast or brag. Love never fails.
The obedience of faith that Saint Paul speaks about allows us to carry ourselves joyfully as expectant parents anticipating how much we will be changed when a child is born to us.
Mary is pregnant with Jesus. This child is conceived by the Holy Spirit. Emmanuel. God with us.
Mary is laboring to bring forth the Light of the World. She is expectant, she is looking forward to the birth of her child with great joy.
Joseph was called to that obedience of faith that Saint Paul writes about. Do not be afraid Joseph.
We also need to be expectant this Advent season, waiting for the new birth to happen to us as well.