Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Advent (Cycle C)
In our Blessed Mother Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, the Holy Spirit inspired the grateful host bearing the infant Baptist in her womb to declare with conviction, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
The Spirit is teaching us through the words of our predecessors in the Judeo-Christian tradition, that faith is the firm believing in the will of God, the steadfast confidence that it will happen, it will be done.
If God intends for judgment to be passed upon a generation living in and under a questionable morality in which families and communities are at risk of being broken up, it will be done.
If God intends for a destruction of social structures in which the poor are forgotten and the marginalized are oppressed and forced out of an existence of which they are deemed to be unworthy, it will be done.
If God intends for the re-creation of the social universe in which a self-centered humanity is compassionately driven to rethink about its errors, to ask for forgiveness and to renew itself through a more selfless way of life, oriented towards an eternal destiny with the divine Infinite, it will be done.
If God intends to save and protect all peoples of all nations regardless of race or creed, so that no one will be left behind for his future reign, it will be done.
And if God intends for his judgment and destruction, his re-creation and compassion, his salvation and protection to be embodied not through the teachings of learned spiritual masters, not through the actions of zealous pastoral agents, but through the ultimate heroic sacrifice of a relatively unknown Jewish carpenter-turned prophet from Bethlehem, offered for all those who are being condemned to indefinite conditions of instability, uncertainty, anxiety and despair, it will be done.
The God of cosmos and history, the Spirit of space and time is a force running on a dynamic we have yet to comprehend, and which we cannot control nor reduce to what and how we want it to unfold.
We cannot subordinate God to our will rather he is bringing us to his own. The will of sacred reality is that of a delicate balance between birth, death and rebirth; between interiority and exteriority; between knowing and unknowing; between an inviolable freedom and mutual responsibility; between a magnanimous authority and ultimate accountability. But this will of sacred reality is also that of an inevitable finality of a creation living in the peace and harmony of the heavens.
It is only our will that appears to go in the opposite direction. We are professing love not for a God who both cares and reprimands, but for a God who pampers us. We would rather have a God who does not disturb us about timely death, nor about how we are culpable for the untimely death of others. We would rather have a God we can grasp with our intelligence, not a God who admonishes us with his wisdom. We would rather have a God who supports us in having rights without clear duties, in wielding power without moral boundaries; in enjoying pleasures without bearing the conscience of causing hardships in the human condition. How we see God is mirrored in the way we dwell in the world; how we see God is the reason why in spite of sincere intentions and elaborate schemes, peace and harmony still eludes us.
In this light of our Lord’s irrevocable will, faith is also the firm acting according to the will of God, the steadfast confidence that it will happen, it will be done with us through his grace.
When we appeal to and cry out against a generation intoxicated in the perversities of commodifying people and nature, judgment will be done.
When we disturb the complacency and stir up the conscience of communities and organizations, cultures and religions that have begun or are continuing to commit or ignore acts dealing with death, destruction will be done.
When we embark on the perilous mission of transformation, inspiring others with the proclamation that “God loves us first” and patiently helping them through the long process of conversion and change, re-creation will be done.
And if by any chance, we are called like the Christ to give up our own lives to save and protect the voiceless, the powerless and the hopeless, it will not be in vain, vindication will be done. God’s kingdom of justice and peace will come.
May we hence pray with fervent devotion: “Lord, make us turn to you.” Bless us with all that we need because “a body you prepared for me”; with this body, “I come to do your will, O God.”
Brother Jess Matias is a professed brother of the Secular Franciscan Order. He serves as minister of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Fraternity at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Mandaluyong City, coordinator of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups of the Capuchins in the Philippines and prison counselor and catechist for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
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