4th Sunday of Advent.
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
- In Washington DC, near Catholic University, there are a number of “houses” that host students studying in graduate school or to become a priest or religious (monk/nun, etc.) One such place is the Paulist House which has a beautiful chapel. In the chapel there is a lectern where the bible is read from every day. If memory serves me correctly (for I may have encountered this somewhere else in my travels) the lectern is made of carved wood. At its base is a very pregnant Virgin Mary, with a serene smile on her face and holding her hands up in worship. She is literally “holding up the ‘desk’ on which the bible sits.”
- What an amazing image. Mary, who is the one in whom the Word of God lives for 9 months prior to earthly birth. Mary, who is known as the God-bearer – here being the foundation for the reading of God’s Word in chapel each time the community gathers.
- In our Old Testament lesson for today, King David, one who was so very close to God, wants to build God a house. “I’m living in a great palace, and God lives in a tent? It is time to build something worthy of our God!”
- God speaks to the Prophet Nathan, in effect saying, “I dwell among my people, in the midst of them!”
- THAT is the point of today’s lessons. God dwells in the midst of his people. THAT is the point of the Incarnation, God made flesh. God desires to dwell in and around us. That is why, during many of our worship experiences, we do a Gospel procession – literally bringing the Word of God from the bible into the “midst of the people.”
- Mary is told that she will be the bearer of God – God will LITERALLY dwell “in the midst of her – in her womb.”
- Her initial response? “This is incredible, unbelievable!” she says. I have not been with a man. “How can this happen?”
- She is told, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you. Thus what is inside you is most holy, the Son of God.”
- You and I are ALSO called to be the bearers of the Most Holy in our lives. We are to bear the Word of God’s powerful love into this world of sin.
- As we encounter the darkness that envelopes our world in these days, we may think that this message is incredible, unbelievable. “God can’t use me. I don’t have the right words, I am shy, so filled with doubt about his power to overcome the violence, hatred, injustice and prejudice of this world. Why, I know my OWN sin that separates me from God and others. HOW CAN GOD POSSIBLY MAKE HIS HOME IN ME???”
- Today, as we baptize two brothers into the family of God, they will be given a special measure of God’s powerful Spirit to rest upon them, so they too can be God bearers for this world. That which separates them (and us) from God is washed away in Baptism. As we participate in this baptism, we are reminded that the Spirit of the Most High rests upon each of us. Our sin is also washed clean.
- We become those who bear God in our own lives and share that powerful love with a weary world. We become, in effect, impregnated with the Word of God. And just as Mary was utterly changed by this Holy Presence within her – we too are changed UTTERLY! We are transformed into something we could never have imagined. We are transformed into SOMEONE we never thought we would be. We are the very presence of God to this world!
- How can this be?
- Hear the words from our Gospel lesson: FOR NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!
- The Lion King is both an amazing movie and musical. In what is the most powerful part of this story for me, we hear these words, written by Jay Rifkin, which we will hear with the music this day:
o Night, and the Spirit of Life – Calling
o And a voice with the fear of a child answers
o Wait! There’s no mountain too great
o Hear the words and have faith. HAVE FAITH!
o HE LIVES IN YOU
o HE LIVES IN ME
o HE WATCHES OVER EVERYTHING WE SEE
o INTO THE WATER
o INTO THE TRUTH
o HE LIVES IN YOU
o IN YOUR REFLECTION
o HE LIVES IN YOU!