The liturgy provides us with the special divine interventions in our salvation history. Our God in his transcendence is all-holy, living in unapproachable light. At the same time, he wants to have communion with humans who are sinful in their ways in order to uplift them. This is what is happening in our Old Testament reading. David was chosen by God to be king over his people Israel. David had waged so many wars, made so many mistakes, shed so much blood and had been sinful in many ways. God forgave his sins and had granted him protection against his enemies. To show gratitude to God for many ways he had blessed him, David decided to build a house for God. He made his plans known to Nathan the prophet who gave him the go-ahead to carry out his plans. Later that night, God spoke to Nathan to stop David from implementing his plans. The prophet came back to David with the message from God, instead of building a house for God, God himself will build a house for David and make his dynasty everlasting. The accomplishment of this prophecy went far beyond what David could ever imagine or Nathan intended. They were thinking of an earthly kingdom, while God gave David a descendant who was really to reign forever: Jesus, the Son of Mary.
With this, God is now fully, firmly, unconditionally, and perpetually committed to the Davidic line. For the first time, the God of Israel is unreservedly committed to a specific historical arrangement.
In our gospel of today, we see how God carried out his plan of an eternal dynasty for David. God, who is all holy wanting to uplift the sinful humanity, works and acts through perfect instruments. In sending His Son Jesus Christ to come and enter into our experience to be with us and to live with us, chose and prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary beforehand to be the Immaculate and the sinless One. Through Her, God would send His Only son into the world. In her, we see the perfection, the sinless-ness and what God originally intended humanity to be. In Mary, we see humanity’s original innocence prior to the fall, in which humans walked with God and saw Him face to face in the garden of Eden. Looking at the holiness and graciousness of Mary, the Angel Gabriel came and knelt before Mary to announce God’s message to her with the words:
“Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” In response to God’s message, the Blessed Virgin Mary said: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
With the celebration of this fourth Sunday of Advent, we make the immediate preparation to receive Our Lord Jesus Christ in the mystery of the Christmas. There is no other adequate preparation to receive him spiritually, other than in the spirit of Mary. The holy church wants all her children to receive Jesus Christ in holiness of life in imitation of Mary’s graciousness, holiness, humility, faith, complete resignation and trust in God and his word.
Mary, the most favored one of God, received the Word of God in sinless Spirit. She was immaculately conceived and was preserved from the effects of original sin, to be the worthy one, and to bring the sinless son of God into the world. This is the attitude that God expects from those who prepare for the coming of his Son into their lives. Sent by God, the Archangel Gabriel came to bow down to her and greeted her as full of grace, whom the Lord is with. In his message to her, the archangel told her that she will have a son named Jesus; the child will be the Son of God and will occupy forever the throne of David; the conception of the child will be effected by the overshadowing descent of God’s Spirit. As a sign of the truth of the message, the archangel informs Mary of the pregnancy of her relative, Elizabeth. In her humble obedience, Mary accepted the word from God, with complete fiat: ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word’ (Luke 1:26-38). With this, we see that Mary has been the worthy one, who all-through the ages, mediates God’s love to us and teaches us how to consent to it.
Seeing that we cannot attain this state of holiness by ourselves, or by our own accord, St. Paul prays for us, and magnifies Him, who is able to strengthen us, the God who alone is wise, that glory may be his through Jesus Christ unto endless ages. And so, we pray with St. Paul that God in his goodness may keep us in the Spirit of Mary and enable us to imitate her virtues, now and forever. Amen