The Fourth Week
The Fourth Week of Advent is very short this year, just three days plus the Vigil of Christmas; yet the Fourth Sunday of Advent takes us a very significant step further in our journey. The liturgy of this Sunday builds on the insights of the previous weeks in the wilderness, and exemplifies those in the intimacy of the Annunciation to Mary [Lk 1]. The sense of God and of self and of mutual entrusting, as well as the promise and the assurance and the confidence that we hear in this text, gently invite us to recognize more sensitively, and to welcome, God’s initiatives in our lives – “let it be with me according to your word.”
Once again, the other two texts of this liturgy play a strong supporting role in relation to that central story. In 2 Samuel 7, God reminds David of how intimately he has been with him whether he was a shepherd of flocks or the prince of the people. Intimacy and mutuality, promise and assurance affirm the uniqueness of this relation, in all its particularity, and yet compel us to find the traces or whispers of intimate divine initiatives in our own lives. In his letter to the Romans, Paul speaks of the revelation of a mystery, God’s secret kept for long ages but now disclosed to those open to the obedience (and intimacy) of faith. As Advent ends we make our way to the manger in Bethlehem, to encounter the intimacy of God with humanity in the “child (who) has been born for us,” the “son (who) has been given to us” [Is 9:6].
Diane Willey, nds