Fourth Sunday of Advent (José Antonio Pagola)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year BLeave a Comment

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A surprising announcement

Luke narrates the announcement of Jesus’ birth in close parallel with the Baptist’s birth. The contrast between the two scenes is so surprising that it allows us to catch, with a new light, a glimpse of God’s Mystery, made flesh in Jesus.

The announcement of the Baptist’s birth takes place in “Jerusalem,” the grandiose capital of Israel, the political and religious center of the Jewish people. Jesus’ birth is announced in an unknown village in the hills of Galilee. It is a village of no importance, named “Nazareth.” No one expects anything good to come from it. A few years later, these humble villages will welcome Jesus’ message announcing God’s goodness. Jerusalem, on the other hand, will reject it. Almost always, it is the little and insignificant ones who are better in understanding and welcoming the God made flesh in Jesus.

The announcement of the Baptist’s birth takes place in the sacred space of the “temple,” while Jesus’ birth, in a poor house in a village. Jesus is introduced there where people live, work, rejoice and suffer. He lives among them, relieving suffering and offering the Father’s forgiveness. God has become flesh, not to stay in temples, but “to make his dwelling among us” and share our life.

The announcement of the Baptist’s birth was heard by a venerable “man,” the priest Zechariah, during a solemn ritual celebration. The announcement of Jesus’ birth is made to Mary, a “young maiden,” about 12 years old. There is no mention of where she is or what she is doing. Who could be interested in a woman’s work? But Jesus, the Son of God made flesh, will look on women differently. He will defend their dignity and welcome them among his disciples.

Lastly, the announcement about the Baptist is that he will be born of Zechariah and Elizabeth, a sterile couple that God blesses. Something absolutely new is said of Jesus. The Messiah will be born of Mary, a young virgin. God’s Spirit will be at the origin of his appearance in the world. That is why “he will be called the Son of God.” The Savior of the world is not born as the fruit of the love of spouses who love each other. He is born as the fruit of God’s Love for all humanity. Jesus is not a gift that Mary and Joseph give. He is God’s gift to us.

José Antonio Pagola

December 21, 2014
4 Advent (B)
Lk 1, 26-38

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