Gospel Reflection | Fourth Sunday of Advent

Reading 1

2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16

When King David was settled in his palace,
and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
he said to Nathan the prophet,
"Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!"
Nathan answered the king,
"Go, do whatever you have in mind,
for the LORD is with you."
But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
"Go, tell my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?'

"It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever."

Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.

"Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.


In the First Reading, a curtain is opened, and we are given entrance into the mind of God and how He sees King David. First, God reminds David that it was He who chose him, protected him, and appointed him. He is delighted in David, just as He delights in all of his children, created in His image and likeness.

After establishing what He has done for David, He goes on to list promise upon promise. “I will fix a place for my people, I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place, I will give you rest from all of your enemies.” He saves the most important for last, “I will raise up your heir after you…I will make his kingdom firm.” Here, God refers to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, whose kingdom “shall endure forever” and who He promised would come from David’s descendance.

In today’s Gospel we see God’s promise to David fulfilled. Just as Nathan told David in the First Reading, so we hear the angel Gabriel tell the Virgin Mary, “The Lord is with you.” And so, we ponder in the silence of our hearts this great truth today. The Lord is with you – in the difficult situations, in the daily sacrifices, in the loneliness that we may experience during this season – the Lord is with you. He delights in you and has promised to be with you until the end of times.

May we receive, by Our Lady’s intercession, the grace to believe Him and embrace His constant presence, protection, and guidance especially when exterior circumstances weigh upon us.

Please be assured of my prayers before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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