23 and 24 December 2017 Fourth Sunday of Advent B Homily

23 and 24 December 2017  Fourth Sunday of Advent B Homily




ROMANS 16:25-27

LUKE 1:26-38


My sisters and brothers in Christ.

The Advent call, cry, prayer “Come Lord Jesus” is about to be



The scriptures today speak about “dwellings” and “indwellings.”

David is brave, bright, handsome, charming, “highly favored.”

Up to this point in his life he has a golden touch and things turn

out his way in an uncanny manner.


David decides to build a “dwelling” for the Lord.

David finds it discomforting that the Lord lives in a tent while he

(David) lives in a house of  “cedar.”


The Lord has other plans for David.

The Hebrew word “bayith”  means “dwelling” or house.

“Bayith” also means  “dynasty.”


David will not build a house for the Lord.

The Lord, we are told, will “establish a house (dynasty) for



The Jewish religion, like many religions, is ambiguous about

building temples, chapels, synagogues, mosques, cathedrals,

basilicas and shrines.  

The ambiguity comes from the practical concern over the physical

and financial resources needed to construct and maintain a “house

of God.”  

I do not need to elaborate on the struggle over building and

maintaining a special building  in this very special house of



The Lord dwelling in a “tent” seems a much more flexible and

less consuming option than building, heating, cooling and

maintaining a large building.


The tent is open, movable, adaptable but also may be penetrated,

and is vulnerable to any number of  “natural” or “man made”


Spiritually speaking, a physical building may tend to localize and

control where the Lord may be found, may be active, may be



What David is promised by the Lord is that the Lord will be

present and “dwell” in David  and in his offspring.


David is not permitted to control the movement, dwelling place,

presence or action of the Lord.



The gospel speaks of Mary, apparently alone and most probably in

the inner room of her home. Unmarried women were not seen by

men other than in the presence of their fathers and brothers.


Mary is informed that the Lord would be present, would establish

his dwelling, his “indwelling” not in a stone or wooden dwelling.


The Lord, Mary is told, will “dwell” in her body, in her inner most

place, in her womb.


Mary, being unmarried and not having “relations with a man” asks

“How can this be?”


Mary is informed the Holy Spirit “will come over” her and “the

power of the Most High will overshadow” her.


Mary then will have the protection not of her natural father and

other male family members.

Mary will have the protection of the Lord.

The Lord will “dwell” with and in Mary after she has her child.


God does the “impossible” in the young woman Mary who has not

had “relations with a man” by promising her a son.


God does the “impossible” in the older woman Elizabeth who is

“barren” by giving her a “son in her old age.”


God does the impossible, Paul tells us in the second reading, by

revealing the “mystery”

of the extent,

the reach,

the limitlessness of God’s desire

to dwell with us,

to save us,

to bring us to himself.

All religions tend to define, circumscribe, place conditions on

who is




a sinner,







Jesus Christ, Paul tells us today,

reveals the mystery,

the secret that:

God seeks to dwell

in all people

and in all peoples.


We say, ask, plead:

“Come Lord Jesus”

Come to dwell with us.

Come to dwell in us.

Come to be all in all.

Come to take us into your Father’s loving care and

form us in his and your loving image.

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