4th Sunday of Advent Year C by Fr. Isaac A Mensah 

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4th Sunday of Advent Year C by Fr. Isaac A Mensah

1st Reading Micah 5:1-4A
Responsorial Psalm Psalms 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
2nd Reading Hebrews 10:5-10
Alleluia Luke 1:38
Gospel Luke 1:39-45

Theme: The God of surprises


Gradually we are inching the coming of our Lord Jesus in the crib and our readings are couched to reflect the events that culminated in the nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. How God surprises the world by becoming a native of the world.

Explanation of the text

Before we delve into the interpretation of the first reading, I would like to look at the historical antecedent of the book of Micah. The content of the book suggests that the Prophet Micah was active during a tumultuous period in Israel’s history; probably during the reigns of the kings Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. He prophesied at the time where religious, social and political corruption of Israel had reached a crescendo and were being threatened by the military invasions and exploits of the Assyrians.

It is against this background that God’s promise enters this perilous and pernicious world in a rather surprising manner. The Prophetic Oracle as we read from Chapter 5 shows that God’s ancient covenant with Israel is secure and reliable and will even come about in an unexpected fashion. By making several allusions to David, (a king par excellence) his birthplace in Bethlehem and his pastoral image as Shepherd, the Prophet Micah wants to reiterate the point that, days are coming that God is going to deliver His people and it would be akin to the days of Davidic reign of old.

This pericope seems to be consistent with several themes in the scriptures that portray God as one who delights in upsetting human expectations. Abraham and Sarah didn’t expect to bear a child in old age, and yet Isaac, whose name means “he laughs”, was such a preposterous surprise that prompted Sarah’s laughter ( Gen 20:1-7). David who was the smallest of his brothers was anointed as the King ( 1 Samuel 16). In our Gospel reading we read that Mary receives a surprise announcement that she will bear a child and not only that her kindred Elizabeth has also conceived in her old age. She couldn’t help it but had to travel to visit Elizabeth. The pleasantries they exchanged and they joy they shared were all because of God’s gratuitous blessings bestow on them in a surprising manner.

The promise of Micah is that God will be faithful and will appear in surprising ways. As Advent draws to a close, the Church invites us to look for God’s presence where we least expect. Are we prepared to be surprised? Are we prepared to welcome the Holy One into our midst? What should be our disposition? The answer to this can be found in the text of our second reading: “here I come to do your will”. By availing ourselves and accepting the will of God in our lives.



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