Sunday Homilies by Fr. Rudolf V. D’ Souza

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Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 23, 2007 Year: A
Is. 7:10-4; Rom. 1:1-7; Mt. 1:18-24

The virgin shall conceive and bear a son

First Reading...
"The Lord spoke to Ahaz, 'Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.' But Ahaz said, 'I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.'

Then Isaiah said: 'Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.'" [Is. 7:10-4]

Second Reading...
"From Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which God promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures: the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through Christ we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." [Rom. 1:1-7]

Gospel Reading...
"The birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.

But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 'Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,' which means, 'God is with us.' When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife." [Mt. 1:18-24]

Story:
One winter day, a little boy was standing on a grate next to a bakery trying to keep his shoeless feet warm. A woman passing by saw the frosty-toed child and her heart ached. He had on only a light-weight jacket and no shoes, and the air was chilly, the wind sharp.

"Where are your shoes, young man?" she asked. The boy reluctantly admitted he didn’t have any. "Why don’t you come with me and we’ll see what we can do about that?" the woman said. Taking his hand, she led him into a nearby department store and bought him a new pair of shoes and a warm jacket.

When they came back out onto the street, the little boy was so excited that he immediately started to run off to show his family his gifts. Suddenly he halted, turned around and ran back to the woman. He thanked her and then hesitated, "Ma’am, could I ask you a question? Ma’am, are you God’s wife?"

The woman smiled and said, "Oh, no, I’m not God’s wife, just one of God’s children."

The little boy grinned and nodded enthusiastically, "I knew it! I just knew you were related!"

"The virgin shall conceive and bear a son." [Mt. 1:23] Today, celebrating the last Sunday of Advent prior to the Feast of Christmas Day, to some extent, we can associate with the greatest joy of the Blessed Virgin Mary who awaited the coming of Baby Jesus into the world. In six days, we will commemorate the birth of her beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus, God incarnated. For some, the celebration of the incarnation shall begin on Christmas Eve through their participation at the Midnight Mass.

Mother Mary’s role in the incarnation is worth noting. She is the hidden treasure that preserved God’s kingdom within her for this long. She must have had a lot to speak, but she preferred silence. That is what impresses us, as we prepare for the birth of the child.

Did you know that the passages from Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23 have been the center of debates between theologians for centuries? Why? Because in the Old Testament, the inspired Word of God refers to a "young woman." In the New Testament, while it is supposed to be a quote of the first passage, the "young woman" has been replaced with the word "virgin." Therefore, the question is, "Was the virginity of Mary prophesied 700 years before the event?"

The Lord has come, the Lord is here, and the Lord is coming again. In two days, we will commemorate His coming on earth in human flesh. This moment of worship, a great Feast that unites Heaven and earth, will be one of joy and praise for all the faithful who will gather around the spiritual table of the Lord to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.


Story:
A woman came home and saw three old men sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them but invited them to enter her house to have something to eat. They asked, “Is the man of the house, home?” She said, “No, he is out!” “Then we cannot come in,” they replied. When her husband returned, she told him what had happened, and he told her to invite them in. When she invited them, they replied, “We cannot go into the house together.” One of the old man explained: “His name is Wealth,” he said, pointing to one of his friends, and pointing to the other one, “He is Success.” “I am Love.” “Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home.”

The couple had a discussion. The husband wanted to invite Wealth, in order to fill their home with wealth. The wife on the other hand wanted to invite Success. Their daughter heard the commotion, and came to join the discussion. She said that it would be better to invite Love so that their home will be filled with love. Finally the couple agreed to follow the daughter’s advice. The wife went out to invite Love as their guest. Love started walking into the house. The other two men also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success, “I invited Love. Why are you two coming in?” The old men replied together, “If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would have stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever he goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!”

SUCCESS PRINCIPLES
Wealth and success will be meaningless without love - God. We need love in our life if we want to live with joy. Wealth and success without love within our family and loved ones will be of little value. What is the use of having wealth and success when there is no one to share it with, especially with our spouse and children.

QUOTE
"He that does good for good's sake seeks neither paradise nor reward, but he is sure of both in the end."

Advent season is a precious stretch of time of reflection, time for family, time for God and time of waiting. When I met so many of our parishioners, especially little children in the confessional, my just advise was to make them understand the preciousness of time and their talents and not to get lost in multiple things. I discovered that most of our children are lost in spending their precious time in computer games, T.V. programs, watching movies, serials, spending time in useless conversations, bad company, etc. Some of them are aware that they have left just two to three months for final exams, yet they continue to be careless. Most of them have very high ambitions to become doctors, engineers, teachers, software experts, pilots etc. But lack focus in what they do. Why? Life seems to have become routine. They need to look up and wonder how much time has been spent uselessly. Just prepare for something noble, great. Great success begins with a firm solid step.

God With Us – Emmanuel – Sharing Life
We were meant to share our lives with each other, because life can be painful. We face too many fragile moments standing alone, often unable to contain our sadness, the feeling of staying lost forever. Sharing our sorrow helps us feel protected. We feel hopeful.

We were meant to share our lives with each other because life can be full of joy. It can overflow with each new success, rediscovering an old friendship, winning against all odds, carrying life within us. Sharing the abundance of our joy brings us the pleasure of feeling cherished. We have chosen happiness.

We were meant to share our lives with each other because life can catch us unaware. It can suddenly surprise us with unwanted adventures and the dare-devil risk of starting new jobs, falling out of love, questioning our faith. Sharing this crisis gives our loved ones a chance to hold steady a safety net even if we choose not to jump. They stand by, a proud witness to our courage.

We were meant to share our lives with each other, because we need each other. For our lives to sustain its purpose and continue to hold its profound significance, we need to be connected, appreciated and understood. We need to share and we need to belong.

  Click here for other Sunday Homilies 

A New book from Fr. Rudy :
Short review of the book: This book is an out come of a serious exegetical study on the important words and texts from the writings of St John of the Cross. The study deals with a short life and writings of the mystic and then does a complete study on GOD, MAN and WAYS to EXPERIENCE GOD. The book is available at: St. Joseph Church, Near Holy Cross Convent School, Mira Road East, Thane Dt. Maharashtra State - 401 107, India. Books can be ordered through email: rudyocd@yahoo.com or rudyocd@gmail.com

The cost of the book is Rs. 125/- pp.xviii + 234, The Title of the Book is: THE DYNAMISM OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH - An Exegetical Study on St. John of the Cross, author: Dr. Rudolf V. D' Souza, OCD, MA. PhD.

Dear friend, my homilies will be posted on Thursdays and you can benefit them and if you need more resources, you could contact me on rudyocd@yahoo.com or rudyocd@gmail.com

Let us make this ministry fruitful one so that the Word of God becomes a source of joy for me and for you and help people become more aware of its riches. You are also welcome to share your feedback with me. Thanks and God bless. 

 

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