| DEAR FRIEND IN CHRIST, DUE TO MY PREACHING COMMITMENTS IN THE UAE FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH (9TH NOVEMBER TILL THE FIRST WEEK OF DECEMBER – 2009) A FEW HOMILIES MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE ON THE HOMILY PAGE. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING. GOD BLESS.
FR. RUDOLF V. D’SOUZA OCD
4th SUNDAY IN ADVENT – 2009
A married lady was expecting a birthday gift from her husband. For many months she had admired a beautiful diamond ring in a showroom, and knowing her husband could afford it, she told him that was all she wanted.
As her birthday approached, this lady awaited signs that her husband had purchased the diamond ring.
Finally, on the morning of her birthday, her husband called her into his study room. Her husband told her how proud he was to have such a good wife, and told her how much he loved her. He handed her a beautiful wrapped gift box. Curious, the wife opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the wife’s name embossed in gold.
Angrily, she raised her voice to her husband and said, “With all your money, you give me a Bible?” And stormed out of the house, leaving her husband.
Many years passed and the lady was very successful in business. She managed to settle for a more beautiful house and a wonderful family, but realized her ex-husband was very old, and thought perhaps she should go to visit him. She had not seen him for many years.
But before she could make arrangements, she received a telegram telling her that her ex-husband had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to her. She needed to come back immediately and take care of things.
When she arrived at her ex-husband’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled her heart. She began to search through her ex-husband’s important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as she had left it years before.
With tears, she opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. Her ex-husband had carefully underlined a verse, Matt 7:11, “And if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father, who is in heaven, give to those who ask Him?”
As she read those words, a tiny package dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a diamond ring, with her name engraved on it — the same diamond ring which she saw at the showroom. On the tag was the date of her birth, and the words…’LUV U ALWAYS’.
How many times do we miss God’s blessings, because they are not packaged as we expected? Trust HIM always. HE knows what is good for you and may even ignore what you thought was good for you.
Do not spoil what you have, by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
If your gift is not packaged the way you want it, it’s because it is better packaged the way it is! Always appreciate little things; they usually lead you to bigger things!
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country (Luke 1:39)
“Those days” are the first days of Mary’s pregnancy – of the pregnancy of a young girl – probably less than 15 years old – of the pregnancy of a young and unmarried girl living in a small village where such a thing would bring untold shame – no, not UNTOLD, but rather frequently told gossip, that would shame her, her family, and her child for ever. In THOSE days, Mary flees her village and heads for the far away hills.
Travel for other than (religious purposes) was often considered deviant behavior in antiquity. While travel to visit family was considered legitimate, the report of Mary traveling alone into the “hill country” is highly unusual and improper.
Now this is also the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. (This is the “in the sixth month” of Verse 1:26.) But unlike Mary, Elizabeth’s pregnancy has taken away the disgrace she endured among her people. (See Verse 1:25.) For unlike Mary, Elizabeth had been barren, and she and her husband Zechariah were getting on in years. And unlike Mary who had no husband, the angel Gabriel announced their pregnancy to Zechariah:
Even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will … make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke1:15-17).
This is the child – whom we know as John the Baptist – who leaps in his mother’s womb at the sound of Mary’s greeting to Elizabeth.
Normally speaking, matters having to do with the womb are not talked about in public. This is women’s talk and it is usually kept carefully within the private circle. … The fact that Luke reports such female conversation here suggests that he considers the reader a family insider.
Therefore, before moving too quickly to the magnificence of Mary’s Magnificat, it is perhaps wise to pause and sit within the intimacy of these two women’s conversation. To consider ourselves not as distant outsiders, but as invited and welcomed extended family into a blessed conversation between these two women.
Does anything leap for joy within us? Can we feel the stirring of new life? Of age old hopes? Of the impossible longing becoming possible?
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord (Luke 1:45)
And blessed today are we who also believe.
Mary’s song of praise, Verses 46-55, pretty much summarizes the teachings of Moses and the Prophets.
Anyone who thinks the Good News of Jesus Christ is only about one’s personal, individual salvation / forgiveness / justification / redemption will have a hard time preaching this text. This is a text about social reversals / transformation. Those of us who are proud, smart, powerful, high status, and well-fed have a tough text to hear today.
But the text today has moved from a young girl fleeing in shame from her home to that same young girl’s soul magnifying the Lord, and her spirit rejoicing in God her Saviour.
We may not need to flee in shame, but the text is calling us to also move; to also move from whatever space we are in to a space of seeing and naming and rejoicing in all the deeds God is doing to restore the creation to its fair balance.[ BACK ]