Fourth Sunday of Advent
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16 /Romans 16:25-27/Luke 1:26-38
As we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent in the year 2020, we do so as a divided United States of America. We are battling each other while battling a pandemic. The combination of the two…a nation at odds with itself and a nation in the grips of a highly contagious, unpredictable, and politicized virus is overwhelming our very souls.
Let us put aside our pressing differences and listen to the Word of God. Let us allow that Word to embrace our hearts and heal our wounds. Let us release our viewpoint while opening to the nourishment of God’s Word. Let us allow the Word to unite us as sisters and brothers in Christ.
Our reading from Samuel today speaks to us of the value of having a home. Family gathers at home. Family lives the everyday and extraordinary moments of life at home. At its best, home is a place where members feel safe, known, and rooted. God is showing King David that his home and the home of the Israelites is in God, who will keep them safe, support their growth and development, and provide protection.
Today, let us acknowledge the blessings of home. Let us celebrate the goodness and strength that we have received from being at home with family and friends. Let us be humbled by the home we have found in God through our faith journey, through our service, through our life in a community of faith that challenges and supports efforts to proclaim God’s love and mercy.
Today, let us grieve the lack of home that so many people experience for days, months, years, generations. Let us open our minds and hearts to the suffering of many as they face the threat of homelessness because of the pandemic, violence of war, political and religious instability, and climate chaos. Let us recognize that so much of our world no longer finds their home in God and can no longer hear the invitation to find a home in God through religious traditions that judge and exclude in the name of righteousness.
We are challenged in the Samuel reading to remember the promise that God is with us. God is with us wherever we go. God is with us in our plans. God is with us in our actions. And the more we yield to God’s presence, God’s wisdom, God’s activity, the more our lives will become home for the lost, the struggling, the suffering, and the vulnerable.
For God, that just is not enough. It is not enough that we are invited to make our home in God. It is not enough that others can make their home in us because we have made our home in God. No. God, through Mary, is very clear that it is God who wants to make God’s home in us.
We, like Mary, are to be God’s home. We are to be the tent of dwelling, where the power of Love, Mercy and Compassion resides and goes forth. And we, like Mary, need to consent, trust and risk so that God’s dwelling within us can be vibrant and cause life to stir in those who meet us.
We, as sisters and associates, have done so many good works! We have been and are teachers, nurses, parish ministers, preachers, social workers, and cottage mothers. We have started and led schools, community centers, homeless shelters, childcare centers, camps, and retreat centers. We have turned empty cottages into homes for the developmentally disabled, co-sponsored an inter-congregational senior living facility, co-created the Dominican Volunteer Program, the common novitiate and participate fully in the Dominican Family. We are active and committed to living fully God’s vision of wholeness. All of it has been an expression of how we have made our home in God.
We have not done it alone. The support of family, friends, collaborators, co-creators, co-ministers, and colleagues has been immense and significant over the years. Together we have built a sense of home figuratively and literally for each other and for those whom we serve. All of it has been a powerful expression of how we have made our home in God.
Today, we are invited to move into a different space. Today, we are invited to push beyond our understanding of making our home in God and embrace becoming a home for God.
Let today be our Magnificat…
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
Sr. Ellenrita Purcaro, OP