Year C: Fourth Sunday of Advent
First Reading: Micah 5: 1-4
The First Reading seems to be an explicit reference to the forthcoming birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem - the least of the clans of Judah. It seems too that God is going to abandon the people until the time comes for the woman to come to Bethlehem to be delivered of her child.
As we have seen over recent weeks, it is not God who abandons the people but, more usually the people who abandon God and then blame him! However, in each generation, there was a “remnant” - a small group of people who did not lose faith - who trusted in God even when all the evidence did seem to be that he had abandoned them.
Their faith, their trust and their endurance will be for the salvation of Israel - and, as we now know, the salvation of the whole world. Over the next few weeks, we will meet various characters who represent this remnant - shepherds and kings, prophets and scholars - people waiting for God to reveal himself to humanity.
As people who know the revelation in Jesus, we have lost the wistfulness and longing for the coming of the Messiah. Even contemplating the Second Coming fills few people with enthusiasm - do we even believe in it any more?
In each generation, there continues to be a remnant of people who hold firm to God and his promises. It is not necessarily those who are most dogmatic in religion who are most faith-filled. The stories over the next few weeks show us that, as in the past, the repository of faith is often placed in the most unexpected people.
What does it mean for me?
Text © 2006 WellspringWeekly Wellsprings ]