Fourth Sunday of Advent – Fr. Adam Royal
December 21, 2019 – 5:00 PM
December 22, 2019 – 8:30 AM
Whenever God shows up in the Scriptures, or he sends his angel, he always has to say, “Do not be afraid.” But no one should be afraid. God loves us. God is love. Whenever he appears, whenever he intervenes in life, should be a moment of great joy. But if we look through the scriptures we can see why everyone was so afraid. Because, in fact, whenever he enters a life or steps into a situation, things seem to go downhill. When he spoke to Moses, Moses had to go tell the most powerful man on earth he would be taking his slaves and then wonder through the desert for 40 years. When God spoke to Sarah, the wife of Abraham, she had to give birth at 90 years of age. Then, when God speaks to Mary and Joseph they have to flee to Egypt because a homicidal king begins slaughtering every baby he can find. So it’s no wonder most people who encounter God in the scriptures are terrified. They know. Something unpleasant is about to happen. Their world is about to shattered to pieces.
And maybe that is exactly what they needed. Maybe that is what we all need. To have our worlds torn apart, so that they can be pieced back together. It is so easy for us to be caught in a rut. To develop a tunnel vision that only allows us to see the things we think are important, or the things we think are deserving of our time, the things and people we think are worthy of our love. We like to build walls which keep out those who can hurt us, and place us in perfect control. But then our hearts begin to atrophy. Love itself begins to die. Because love cannot survive in the sterile and desiccated safe spaces we create. Love is a living and dynamic force. It is a gift of God that calls us to be like God. It calls us to let go of our own desires and encounter others. Love continually reaches out for the other, looking for more people to offer itself to. Love wants to draw all people together. But it can only do it with our consent.
That is why God shatters our worlds. He breaks down our walls and says, it is time to learn to love again. It is time to grow and change and become more than you ever imagined you could be. When God entered the life of Moses, he defeated the greatest empire the world had seen and freed a people who had been in slavery for 400 years. When God spoke to Sarah he made a barren woman the mother of his chosen people. When God entered the life of Mary, he made a young girl, no more than 15 years old, the mother of the savior and now Queen of Heaven. When God enters a life, when he steps into our world, he makes a mess of it but only so that it can be rebuilt into something even greater. He disarms us, so that we will be open to a better more loving world.
Right now, God is trying to enter all of our lives. He is knocking on the door of our hearts so that he can tear down our walls and make a mess of things. Say yes. Let him in, and do not be afraid. Because Jesus is Emmanuel. He is God with us and he will make us into more than we could ever imagine.