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Bishop Robert Barron2017
The readings for this dramatic fourth Sunday of Advent put us in the heart of a deep and abiding mystery: the mystery of God’s providence. Just when we are tempted to say, “nothing makes sense,” the Bible interrupts us to say, “wait.” God works in subtle ways, and often it takes years, even centuries, for God’s plan fully to be realized.
Adam had a kingly mission. However, he became a bad king. David was meant to restore kingship to its proper form. However, he failed too. But Christ, the Lord, is the King who sets everything aright and restores creation. His kingdom rivals all others.
The church fathers saw so clearly that we will never understand the New Testament without understanding the Old Testament. Our readings for this weekend show how the angel's words to Mary at the annunciation are intelligible only in light of God's promise made, ten centuries before, to David.
For the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Church asks us to juxtapose stories of David and Mary. David decides that he wants to build a temple for the Lord, but God does not favor his plan; Mary hears what God wants to do through her, and she acquiesces. It is always a matter of following the promptings of the divine will and not our own desires, even when we are convinced that those desires are good and holy. Thomas Merton said, "Lord, the fact that I think I'm following your will doesn't mean that I am in fact doing so..." That acknowledgement takes great humility and spiritual perception.
The greatest of the Advent figures makes her appearance in the Gospel for today. Mary the mother of God is the new Eve, the one who, through her expectation and obedience, undid the sin of Eve and Adam. They tried to seize God's gifts; Mary accepted them as a grace.