4th Sunday of Advent Year A, 22/12/2019

Our Advent time of waiting is almost ended and in these last days starting from today’s liturgy, we now turn to the two figures: Mary and Joseph. While the Gospel relates the story of Mary and Joseph before the birth of Jesus, both are differently called to a very great trust in God’s promises. Mary is the “virgin who shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Mary freely and entirely accepted this responsibility. Turning our gaze to Joseph, he is a just man, and his responsibility to name the child “Jesus”, is a great honour given to him. He was a trustworthy man who could not interfere with God’s plan. Both had something in common also and that is, the strong and faithful sense of waiting in hope.

The story goes that there were five friends who stood outside the house, waiting for something to happen. The first one was waiting for the moon to appear, while the second one was waiting for the rain, the third and the fourth friends were waiting for the wind and the snow respectively. And the fifth friend was waiting for anything because he likes waiting.

This story is meant to teach us that waiting is an existential reality; that the big part of our lives entails waiting. We wait in line, in a restaurant or for something special to happen. But the story also reminds us that only two days separate this forth Sunday of Advent from what we have been waiting for; The Holy Christmas. And as we wait in quiet hope for the birth of our savior whose birth gives us the reason to celebrate, the first reading speaks of this hope prophesied years before the birth of Jesus. Prophet Isaiah, spoke of Immanuel, God who is with us. Therefore, Jesus is not an idea that Christians wait for, but an Incarnate Word: Immanuel.

            St. Paul joyfully regards the birth, and later death and the resurrection of Jesus as the hope and meaning of our faith and waiting. The Entrance Antiphon of today’s liturgy summarizes our waiting in hope with these words: “Drop down dew from above, you heavens, and let the clouds rain the Just One; let the earth be opened and bring forth the Saviour”. And the Psalmist reminds us that by leading our lives with purity of heart we shall reveal God’s glory.

Let us wait in hope not for the moon, the rain, wind, snow or just anything, but for Immanuel; God to stay with us.

Oh, come Immanuel…

 Joy and Peace.