Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


4th Sunday of Advent
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
December 21st, 2014
Year B

One thousand years before the Incarnation God promised King David that he would make one of his descendents the Savior of the world, the everlasting King. But that promise only happened after the king finally achieved peace and prosperity for himself and his people. He looked around and realized that the Ark of the Covenant, the golden chest containing the Ten Commandments, the Manna, and Aaron's staff, the holy place where God's presence is made manifest, was still housed in a tent, while he was living in a palace. David thought that it was time for him to build a beautiful temple for the Ark. But then God sent him a message through the prophet Nathan: “Should you build me a house to dwell in?” In other words, he reminds the king that God is the one who has been guiding him, giving him success in all his endeavors and that his role in God’s plan of salvation is real, and important, but it’s only secondary.

God Himself will build a new ark. He will create a dwelling place for Himself.  He chose Mary, a humble, poor girl from Nazareth to be the “Ark of the New Covenant.” Imagine the waiting, 1,000 years of waiting for the savior. The long anticipated heir to the throne of David has finally come. She certainly would not have missed the signs of His presence. The Holy Spirit would overshadow her in the same way the cloud overshadowed the Meeting Tent that held the Ark of the Covenant, signifying the presence of the Divine. God intervenes in human history. He unites Himself to human flesh and makes His dwelling in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Nathan’s prophecy, the Old Testament writings are now proven to ring true in this humble girl. Mary accepts the responsibility of being the new ark and thus becomes the first Christian. She accepts her role in God’s plan.

This is the mark of every Christian. We, like Mary, bear within ourselves this same God. No, we are not divine beings, yet the Holy Spirit, by virtue of our Baptism, truly makes His dwelling in us. St. Augustine explains that God became man so that man might become God. This is what makes Christianity unlike any other religion of the world. For we do not believe in an abstract idea of a deity that lies completely outside of us and remains distant from humanity. No, we believe in a personal God. He remains high in the heavens yet totally united to His creation. This is the paradox of the Christian faith – God is totally outside of us yet totally within. Again, St. Augustine explains it well. In his Confessions, he explains:
“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you… You were with me, but I was not with you… You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”

The life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at her acceptance to be the Mother of God, is now completely identified with her Son. Her whole being is changed because He entered her womb. This is precisely the grace of baptism. We become like Mary, completely identified with Christ. We are changed because He has entered our souls. Thus we are called to be like Mary - to be obedient to God’s Word, to His teachings, to imitate His holiness, to accept that He is the author of life, and to be humble enough to be guided by Him. This is a choice that we make. We have to accept the responsibility of being a true Christian. In an angelus address in 2006, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said:
“Therefore, though it is God who takes the initiative of coming to dwell in the midst of men, and he is always the main architect of this plan, it is also true that he does not will to carry it out without our active cooperation. Therefore, to prepare for Christmas means to commit oneself to build 'God's dwelling with men.' No one is excluded; every one can and must contribute so that this house of communion will be more spacious and beautiful.”

As these final days advent come to a close, let us journey to Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph, let us enter more deeply into this mystery of the Incarnation, may we have the grace and courage to accept the responsibility of being true Christians and committed to being more fully identified with the Savior in word and deed, in holiness and virtue.


Fr. Jon Reardon

Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.

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