Fourth Sunday of AdventDecember 23, 2012
THE FULFILLMENT OF A PROMISE
Our first reading from the prophet Micah sings the praises of Bethlehem, a small insignificant town from where a ruler of Israel shall come. Because of the time that we live, we hear this passage and immediately think of the birth of Christ; however, Bethlehem was known first as the City of David.
Remember that Israel had been given a promise: that David’s lineage would last forever. So this is not just about Christ, but also about King David, under whose reign Israel was united; under whose reign there was peace.
And so we hear that the fulfillment of God’s promise, given long ago, is near. The heir of David would bring peace and that is why Jesus is the “prince” of peace – the one in whom a dream is realized.
So too in our Gospel, we hear again, the story of the Visitation. But often, it does not mean for us, what it meant for the first century Jew. The hill country of Judah was not just any place, it was the location of the ark of the covenant when David found it and brought it to Jerusalem. Upon discovering the ark, David so famously danced before the presence of God.
Now, Mary is signaled as the New Ark of the Covenant as she goes to that same place and John dances before the Lord in Elizabeth’s womb.
You see, God does not abandon God’s people or forget the promises that have been made. Rather, dreams take time to be realized and so we must not give up hope.
CLICK HERE for the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent: (Micah 5:1-4; Psalm 80; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45)