4th Sunday of Advent – B
December 21, 2014


I borrow the title of Thomas Cahill’s lovely prose and well-written “history” of Jesus of Nazareth. I like the title, first and foremost, for he speaks about Jesus having definitely made a difference in the long history of humankind. Even if recorded history, apart from the Bible, has precious little about him and details about his life and lineage, his coming or irrupting into human history definitely made a dent, for many, not just a few.

We are among the many today whose lives were impacted by the one who was promised three thousand years ago by Nathan, the prophet: “I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm … Your house and your kingdom shall endure before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.”

We are a people in waiting. We are a people, too, of the promise. We are filled with longing, wrapped up in an intense desire for something better, something higher, something nobler, something more beautiful and more fulfilling. We are a people of the longing. And yes, I take it from Fr. Rolheiser, too, that behind our desire, behind the earthly dreams and desires of every human being born of woman, is, at bottom, a deeply human and a deeply holy longing – a longing for God, ultimately the object of desire of the everlasting hills!

But Nathan’s promise was not an empty boast. Neither was it a shallow attempt at appeasing our dashed hopes and frustrated dreams. No … it was a promise. It was a prophecy … about God and His promises to His beloved people. This God is a God of promises, but He is even more a God of fulfillment.

The Gospel today dwells on that fulfillment of what was once promised – a full thousand years before it eventually took place.

Mary, the young woman through whom the promise was fulfilled, showed us what it means to be waiting, to be open to surprises, and open to challenges. Indeed, God surprised her with a visit of a messenger – Gabriel, who came with yet another promise: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.”

The dream beyond all dreams … the object of all our longings and the desire of the everlasting hills has come in our midst in history. He is still coming to us in mystery and grace. And he will yet come again in majesty and glory.

But there is one important question we need to answer … Have we allowed him to make a difference in our lives up till now?