Fourth Sunday of Advent (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year ALeave a Comment

Author: José Antonio Pagola · Translator: Rosalino Reyes Dizon. · Year of first publication: 2013.
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Inner experience

The evangelist Matthew has a special interest in telling his readers that Jesus should be called “Emmanuel.”  He well knows that this can result shocking and strange.  Who can be called by the name that means “God with us”?  This name, however, contains within it the core of the Christian faith, and is at the center of the celebration of Christmas.

The ultimate mystery that surrounds us on every side and which we believers call “God” is not something removed and distant.  It is with us and with each one of us.  How can I know it?  Is it possible to believe reasonably that God is with me, if I don’t have some personal experience, as small as it may be?

Ordinarily, we Christians have not been taught to perceive the presence of God’s mystery within ourselves.  That is why many imagine this mystery to be in some undefined and abstract place in the Universe.  Others seek this mystery by adoring Christ present in the Eucharist. There are enough people who try to listen to this mystery in the Bible.  For others, the best way is Jesus.

God’s mystery, without doubt, has its ways to make itself present in every life.  But it can be said that in today’s culture, if we have not experienced it in some way within ourselves, it will be difficult to find it outside ourselves.  On the other hand, if we do perceive its presence inside us, it will be much easier to find vestiges of the mystery around us.

Is it possible?  The secret consists, above all, in knowing how to just be there with our eyes closed and in gentle silence, welcoming with a simple heart this mysterious presence that is encouraging and sustaining us.  It is not about thinking about this, but about just being there to “welcome” the peace, the life, the love, the forgiveness …, all coming to us from the very depth of our being.

When we go into the depth of our own mystery, it is normal to encounter our fears and worries, our wounds and unhappiness, our mediocrity and our sin.  We do not need to get worried, rather let us just remain in silence.  The loving presence that is in the deepest part of ourselves will keep calming us down, freeing and healing us.

Karl Rahner, one of the most important theologians of the twentieth century, affirms that, in the midst of the secular society of our day, “it is only with this experience of the heart that the faith message of Christmas—God has become man—can be understood.”    The ultimate mystery of life is a mystery of goodness, of forgiveness and salvation, a mystery that is with us— within everyone and within each one of us.  If we welcome it in silence, we will come to know the joy of Christmas.

José Antonio Pagola

December 22, 2013
4 Advent (A)
Matthew 1, 18-24

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