Year C: Fourth Sunday of Advent
Second Reading: based on Hebrews 10: 5-10
God can only work through the consent of his people - and ultimately, could only work to save his people with the willing consent of the Christ.
The old Law had strict rules governing sacrifice and holocaust dating back centuries - the animals to be used and the ritual carefully prescribed and followed. However, in the incarnation of the Christ in Jesus a new era dawned. God was to be revealed as a god who did not want the sacrifice of animals but, as the psalmist said, a humble, contrite heart. Jesus had no need for contrition being wholly without sin - but he was humble and, on coming into the world, simply said to the Father: “God, here I am! I am coming to do obey your will.”
The writer recognises the significance of the new era that is dawning - when a new and perfect offering will be made to the Father and, in that offering, the salvation of humanity will be assured.
As we embark on the festivities of Christmas, it is easy to become so caught up in the baby in the crib that we forget just who he was - who he is. The crib is a beautiful image - the baby in a manger, mother kneeling prayerfully close by or cradling the child in her arms - Joseph, shepherds and kings, ox and donkey standing in awe gazing at him.
As we gaze in our turn, it is perhaps good to learn to share that awe - to go beyond the figures - or the children dressed in costume - and to see the deeper meaning of what we celebrate.
The God who liberates and dances comes into the world as a child. The Son, obedient to God’s will says, “Here I am!” This is a central truth of our Faith - that God took flesh and lived among us.
What does it mean for me?
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