4th Sunday of advent (23rd December, 2018)
First Reading: Mic 5:1-4a (Ruler of Israel)
Second Reading: Heb 10:5-10 (Here I am to do your will)
Gospel: Lk 1:39-45 (Mary visits Elizabeth)
The scripture says clearly “For the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). True to this saying, the scripture is full of instances where we see the least expected or considered least by the worlds is rewarded or exalted high. We have Moses who ran away from his clan, Noah, who was an unknown figure of the then ear of deluge, King David who was never thought to become became a king, we have Samuel who could not even discern the voice of God and the list goes on.
Today we have the first reading from the book of Micah where the theme of God’s favour and mercy upon the least is vividly shown. It says, “But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one how is to rule in Israel” (Mic 1:2) Thus it enumerates the power of the offspring from Bethlehem saying “And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace” (Mic 5:4). We see how God brings up the name of Bethlehem to be remember forever and ever. It is not because of any greatness on the part it. It remained insignificant and unknown to the crores of people but God made it known everywhere to be remembered for ever. It was purely an act of mercy and God upon this little Bethlehem.
The book of Hebrews contains a lot of mention about the priesthood and various rites in connection with making offertory. The little and the humble certainly bear another trait namely the obedience. The various figures mentioned above are those who stand as concrete examples for obedience to the will of God. For it is that God which God desires. St. Paul says, clearly, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’” (Heb 10:5-6).” this trait goes along with the little because all they desire in this life here on earth is to fulfil the will of God.
Where the little who disposes themselves to the will of God throughout their life are able to realise the many wonderful works God does for them. Elizabeth and Mary become examples in this regard. Elizabeth was in desperate need for a child. She prayed but never grumbled. She longed for it and expressed it in prayer and continued to live a totally prayerful life and so does Zachariah who dedicated himself to the service of the temple. At no moment they remained passive in their life rather active in being service to and paid homage to the Lord. The righteousness and devoutness of this couple get rewarded. God indeed looks upon the little. Today as we await his return in glory, we too are called to follow the mode of Elizabeth and Zachariah. If we do so, God will make wonders emerging through us too. We who may be insignificant in the eyes of human beings would be favourable persons for God. Amen.