4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C By: Rev. Fr. Ameh Sylvanus

Readings: Micah 5:2-5; Psalm 80; Hebrews 10”5-10; Luke 1:39-45

1. Today is the last Sunday of Advent, meaning Christmas is imminent. All the prophecies of the birth of the Messiah are becoming clearer in our readings. Today’s 1st reading mentions specific town of his birth and the gospel talk about some events before Jesus was born, precisely, about Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, her older cousin. Interestingly, the readings talk about the power of God over nature and human conditions and from this, we shall take two lessons.

a. There is no problem God cannot solve.
In the gospel, Mary visited Elizabeth who was 6 months pregnant. The angel Gabriel told Mary that “she who is called barren is now in her 6th month” (Luke 1:36). In Genesis 30:23, barrenness was seen as a reproach; it was a thing of shame, disgrace and humiliation. Elizabeth herself also said this when at last she conceived. She said: “for God has taken away my public disgrace” (Lk 1:25). When Elizabeth conceived, she was already past child-bearing age, but that was no hindrance to God. When God came into the picture, He changed everything. This was also the case of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, and Manoah’s wife (the mother of Samson). Sarah was even ridiculed by her servant and Samson’s mother by her mate. For God to make all these women pregnant, including the Blessed Virgin Mary, even without sexual intercourse is simply a pointer to the fact that God can do all things. Hence, whatever challenge we may be facing in life, let us bear in mind that it is not bigger than God, for with God, all things are possible.

b. Never look down on yourself
The first reading tells us that God chose an insignificant clan in the tribe of Judah as the birth place of Jesus while in the gospel, He chose a poor, insignificant girl to be the mother of Jesus. By human logic, this doesn’t make sense and it would never have happened. But the Bible says in I Corinthians 1:27 that “God purposely chose what the world considers weak to shame the strong.” Oftentimes, some people underrate themselves and think they can’t do any good or be any good. Some write themselves off because they are poor or at the lower rung of the social ladder, but God does not operate like that. God sees in us what neither the world nor we ourselves can see. We should therefore be challenged to never look down on ourselves because God does not look down on us. In the hands of God, no one is too small. May the Lord bless us as we prepare to celebrate his birth. Amen