Fourth Sunday of Advent
Our Obedience of Faith
St Paul speaks of the great mystery which God kept secret. For us who know Jesus, we now owe God the obedience of faith.
Maybe obedience isn’t fashionable these days, but the obedience of faith is about our accepting reality. And what more beautiful reality is there than that our God has prepared for us?
Being obedient is a little like trying to be being good on Christmas eve. God’s ‘present’ still contains many wonderful secrets for us. The saints in heaven ever increase in joy because God is so unimaginably wonderful. So, it is good to be exited about the spiritual gifts God may bring us. This expectation makes us feel like little children on Christmas eve who are waiting, being as good as they can, doing what pleases mum and dad, being obedient – so they may receive all the presents their parents (and of course Santa) want to give them out of love for their children.
Being obedient isn’t a bad thing. It reveals that love is alive – in our hearts as trust, and in the heart of the benevolent giver, in whom we place our faith. Our obedience comes from our faith in God’s love.
Christmas is a wonderful time because it opens our heart to faith in love which is the same as faith in God, who is Love! Now I just want to repeat of few words taken from Archbishop Timothy’s Christmas message about Mary’s faith in God’s love, her example of obedience, and the wonderful gift she received for the whole world.
At the Annunciation we see that Mary is a woman of extraordinary faith and total openness to God’s will for her. And yet puzzlement and confusion were present in Mary too. When the angel appeared to Mary, we are told that she was at first greatly disturbed and then confused.
The call to faith in the midst of confusion, to courage in the midst of uncertainty and fear, and to trust in God in the midst of adversity and difficulty, is one which we all face in the circumstances of our own lives. God’s ways and God’s call to obedience are not always easy, comfortable or welcome.
Mary realised that the Lord would support her in all that he was asking of her and gave her unconditional “yes”. She becomes for us a model of what faith looks like in daily life.
In the end, the depth of our faith is revealed by the measure of our trust in God’s fidelity to his promises: to be with us always, to lead us along the paths of life, and to draw us into the mystery of his saving presence in our world. As God has fulfilled his promise, “the Word became flesh and lived among us.” For this we owe God the obedience of faith, but also our gratitude and filial love.
What a beautiful story Christmas is – a story of love and obedience; a story of God’s gift to the world; and a story of everlasting joy. May Mother Mary intercede for us that we may share in this joy! Merry Christmas.