4th Sunday of Advent


2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Romans 16: 25-27
Luke 1: 26-38


On this, the fourth week of Advent, we light the final purple candle to mark the final week of prayer and preparation as we wait for the birth of our Saviour. This final candle, the “Angel’s Candle,” symbolises peace. It reminds us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”

This Gospel from Luke is one that is very familiar to us, we heard it proclaimed on Wednesday this week.  It is the story of Mary’s Annunciation when the angel appears to her and reveals to her that she would conceive and bear a Son. The angel Gabriel’s message deeply disturbs Mary. This young peasant Jewish girl is confronted with a great mystery that would have challenged her faith. It was leading her into taking unknown risks. She is willing to take the risk and to trust God’s invitation.

Mary surrenders herself to a call from God. ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’

This is the first announcement that the divine is breaking into the world. It reminds us of the normality of God’s outreach to ordinary, humble ones; it places the meek and otherwise inconsequential at the center of the fullest revelation of God.

How do we embrace God’s outreach in our lives?

Joanne McGrath is a parishioner of St Brigid’s Marrickville and a Passionist Companion.

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