Dec. 20, Fourth Sunday of Advent
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Micah 5:1-4a
Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
2) Hebrews 10:5-10
Gospel: Luke 1:39-45
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
In May of 1986 I started work as the youth minister of my parish. Later that year when plans were drawn up for a new parish hall, I was promised a youth room with all the bells and whistles of modern design. I was excited but, as often happens in a growing parish, the plans were put on hold until the church could raise the necessary funding.
Along the way, other priorities intervened and the planned facility with the promised youth room was delayed. Finally, 20 years later, the new hall including a state-of-the-art youth room was opened. That experience came to mind as I was reading this week’s Gospel when Elizabeth says to her cousin Mary, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
To be sure, the promise of a room dedicated to youth ministry pales in comparison to the promise of the coming of the savior of the world, but it reminds me that promises made and promises kept are a huge part of our life and faith.
In our human life there are many promises. Parents promise to be there for their children, and there is an implicit promise that the children will grow up and leave some day. Siblings and friends have an inherent promise to have each other’s backs and to love each other through good and bad times.
In our life of faith the church promises to be faithful and provide the sacraments, and the Scriptures are full of promises. In addition to the promise mentioned in the Gospel, the prophet Micah offers background for the promise that later is fulfilled in Mary when he states that from Bethlehem there shall come a ruler whose origin is from of old.
Micah lived around the year 700 B.C. That means that through him God made a promise that took 700 years to be fulfilled. This makes my 20-year wait for a dedicated youth space seem like nothing.
Sometimes it may seem that God is slow in keeping his promises, but as sure as a youth room would come to fruition at my parish, ever surer is the hope that God will fulfill all that he has promised.
What promises have you made that have yet to be fulfilled? How have God’s promises been fulfilled in your life?