Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 20, 2015 – Year C
Readings: Mi 5:1-4a / Psalm 80 / Heb 10:5-10 / Lk 1:39-45
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
About 3 days ago, a couple visited our sister parish, Resurrection, in Moneta. They were looking for a priest because they claimed they could see demons in their home. Since I wasn’t there, they told their story to Deacon Chris. He prayed with them, and gave them holy water to take home and sprinkle on their house. By the way, this couple wasn’t Catholic. But yet they believed that, somehow, our church could assist them in driving out their demons. When I heard this story, it reminded me of a post from one of my Facebook friends. It said something like, “People make fun of us Catholics until they see demons in their homes.”
We believe that, as sons and daughters of God, we are more powerful than any demons or evil spirits because we are God’s holy temples. The Holy Spirit dwells in our souls. On many occasions, the Lord told His followers, “Do not be afraid.” At the end of St. Matthew’s Gospel, He explained why. He said, “I will be with you always, until the end of time.”
In today’s Gospel, Elizabeth said to the Blessed Mother, “Blessed are you who believe that what was spoken to you by the Lord will be fulfilled.” The Blessed Mother may not have had full knowledge of how God’s Plan would be carried out, but she believed that, with God on her side, everything in her life would fall into its proper place. We, too, should keep this in mind. The Lord God fulfills His promises. We don’t need to read the Bible all the time to know God’s Will. It is more beneficial to spend time reflecting on these powerful words, and letting them sink deeply into our hearts.
As the Holy Mother Church often reminds us, of greatest merit is to do as the Holy Mother did: To spend time with God in prayer. But is it really possible to carry out St. Paul’s advice to the early Christians, and to us, ‘to pray without ceasing’?
Yes, it is possible, as the lives of saints would tell us. Putting ourselves in God’s presence is already a prayer. It is through constant prayer that our faith in God’s promise will be strengthened.
Sister Carrie Anne McKeown told a story about a woman who came to the mission house where they help people, especially women, with all types of problems. Sister noticed that the woman seemed to be carrying a very heavy burden, and asked what was troubling her. The woman replied, “My mother just died.” Sister did as any priest or religious person would do: She asked if she could pray with her. The woman said, “Thank you, Sister, but I don’t believe in God. I’m just here for the food.” Sister responded, “Well, that is very sad, because that means you have no hope.” The woman looked directly at Sister and admitted that she was right: She had no hope.
When Sister Carrie Anne returns, she can probably tell us the rest of the story, but we all know that it is our faith that gives us hope. While we are still here on Earth, making our journey with the rest of God’s Family, it is our faith that tells us that God is always with us; that when we pray, God listens. In the psalm, we pray, “Lord, make us turn to you and we will be saved.”
The little children believe that Santa Claus will grant their wish for Christmas. May we have this same unwavering faith in Our Lord and Our God, so that St. Elizabeth’s words to the Blessed Mother, Blessed are you who believe that what was spoken to you by the Lord will be fulfilled, can also be applied to each of us.