Word to Life: Christ’s coming calls us to hope

More Word to Life columns.

(Dec. 21, Fourth Sunday of Advent)

Cycle B Readings:

1) 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16

Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29

2) Romans 16:25-27

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

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11)

"The Lord ... will establish a house for you" (2 Samuel 7:11)

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service

For the second time, we’re getting ready to put a house on the market, which usually means going over it with a fine-toothed comb and looking for potential deal breakers. Then comes the inevitable question: Given our budget, what absolutely has to be repaired, remodeled or replaced, and what can we let go?

Watching TV shows on home remodeling and “house-flipping” doesn’t help. They prompt comparisons between our home and the showcases, inspiring more fix-up projects that require even more time and money. For us, it usually comes down to praying for guidance, making tough choices and hoping we get it right in a real estate market we don’t know.

In the first reading of this fourth Sunday of Advent, King David saw a problem and envisioned a building project that sounded good at the time — erecting a dwelling for the Ark of the Covenant — so that the house of the Lord of Israel would measure up to those of his neighbors’ gods.

But neither David nor the prophet Nathan “got it right.” In a play on words, God made it clear that the dwelling was not David’s to build; rather, the Lord would raise up from David’s descendants a royal “house” that would have a significance far greater than anything he could imagine.

Luke’s Gospel picks up that theme and, not accidentally, mentions that Mary is betrothed to Joseph, a member of “the house of David.” But in a startling turn of events, the angel Gabriel makes it clear to Mary that the child whose coming he announces will fulfill the promise made to his ancestor David — not through the intervention of flesh and blood, but by the power of God — and in this way, “the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

Though the outcome was beyond Mary’s comprehension, she “got it right” by trusting in God’s promise and its incredible implications for future generations.

Every day we find ourselves in situations that cry out for answers and appeal for “quick fixes,” and too often we first look to our own insufficient resources for solutions. Christ’s coming, announced anew every Advent, breaks through our shortsightedness, carries us beyond our inadequacies and calls us to hope beyond our imagining.

QUESTIONS:

In what present situation are you trying to rely on your own inadequate resources to “fix” a problem? How can you more fully rely on God’s power and find hope in God’s promises?

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