4th Sunday of Advent Reflection
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Sts. Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
"Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled" these words from the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Advent 2009 indicate how powerful the child in the womb of Mary was. We must remember that Mary accepted the will of the Lord in spite of the possibility that in doing so she could be stoned to death.
How accepting are we of God’s will? That is the lesson and the question we need to examine this last Sunday before we celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The preacher of the Pontifical Household has urged the faithful to follow the example of Mary and give birth to Christ this Christmas. Not physically, of course, but spiritually.
We are reminded of the words of St. Francis concerning the birth of Christ; “We give birth to him through holy works, which should shine forth as an example for others. How holy and dear, pleasant, humble, peaceful, lovable and desirable above all things it is to have such a brother and such a son, our Lord Jesus Christ!”
As we go through life often times we are faced with problems or trials that we would rather not have to deal with. I find that some of life’s most difficult times are lessons sent by God to lead us toward the place he desires us to be or tests like those Job had to endure as proof of His complete trust and love of God.
Saint. Francis is telling us that when we love God with a sincere heart we give birth to Christ spiritually especially when we accomplish deeds that manifest Christ’s teachings to the world.
What would have happened, I wonder, if Mary had told Gabriel “You have got to be kidding! You want mew to bring forth a child without being married?” “No Way!” “I could get stoned to death as a harlot”
Jesus Christ came to this earth to enlighten us and to be the light that would lead us to the path that would achieve everlasting life. Christ came to teach us the truth of God’s teachings and will and to rebuke all the man made rules and regulations that had been imposed over the years..
Christ came to give us the keys to open the doors to heaven for all who desire to follow the path He taught us. The path of Christ is a simple one; “Love God with all our being and love each other as Christ loved us” Christ loved us enough to die for us. There is no greater love than that.
Mary’s acceptance of God’s will was the first step in our redemption. If she had refused Christ would not have been born and the prophets fulfillment would not have happened which means we would not be celebrating Christmas this coming Friday.
Let us attempt to follow Mary’s complete trust in God and accept His will for us.
Let us learn to be happy with How God created us and to accept others as God created them.
Let us give each other the gifts of brotherly/sisterly love and diligently try to bring about a time of justice, equality, truthfulness and fairness to every individual on the face of the earth since we all are children of God no matter what nationality or religious denomination.
This Christmas let us renew our efforts to bring about a time of peace and justice to all. Let us dig down and support those who are in need.
Let’s support those charities that are trying to help others. Let us make time for God a major focal point in our daily schedule. Let us place our complete faith and trust in God as May did and tell God “Not our will but your will be done unto us according to your word” AMEN
May God's infinite love and blessings fill you with comfort and peace, this coming Holiday Season. May you have an abundance of joy, love, peace and good will for you your family and friends.
Fr. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus
Franciscans of Divine Mercy
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