1987 Dec 20 – 4th Sun of Advent (Bulletin Letters)
2 Sm 7, 1 – 5. 8b – 11. 16
Lk 1, 26 – 38
FROM DAVID TO MARY / FROM PROMISE TO FULFILLMENT:
This week’s scriptures take us from the peak of King David’s glory 1000 years, ahead to the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary; from God’s promise to establish the house of David forever to the fulfi11ment of that promise in Gabriel ‘s announcement. A lot happened in between the promise and its fulfi11ment. David’s son, Solomon, built the temple. After Solomon, David ‘s kingdom was divided. Judah lasted 400 years until Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, leveled the temple, killed off the family line of David and took David’s people into captivity to Babylon. The Babylonian exile lasted 70 years. David’s people returned to their homeland and rebui1t the city and temple, a much more modest city and temple than they once knew. There was no David’s line of leadership and national independence was never regained. Planted deep within the soul of the Jewish people was the expectation that God would reestablish the house of David, raise up a leader who would regain Israel’s national independence and make of them a great nation.
By the time Gabriel made his visit to Mary in the pagan region of Galilee, in the backward village of Nazareth, God’s promise to David seemed wholly unable to be fulfilled, especially if that fulfi11ment were to take form within a poor maiden from Nazareth! When Mary asked, “How can this be?” Gabriel answered, “Nothing is impossible with God.”
A promise from God will stand forever, its fulfi1lment assured. Our expectations put us on the wrong track. We read into God’s promises from our own limited and selfish perspective. That is why the Jews did not recognize in Jesus the fulfillment of God’s promise to David. And that is why each year at this time in the midst of the secular and commercialization of Christmas, we too can miss the coming of Christ; too busy fulfilling our own expectations, not looking for the Christ child in the backward, hidden and poor recesses of our hearts and our world. Remember, Christmas is the story of God’s coming into the world from God ‘s perspective, not our own.
GIVE GENEROUSLY TO ST. ANTHONY’S SHELTER: This years second collection at the Christmas Masses will go to the Catholic Worker community at St. Anthony’s shelter. St. Anthony’s Shelter is an overnight shelter for men in Omaha. Kari Fisher, a member of the Catholic Worker community wi1l be speaking at each Mass this weekend after communion about the work of the Shelter. I know you will be generous in your sharing in this work of mercy.