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Homily for Wednesday December 23, 2020 – The Fourth Week of Advent

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Malachi 3: 1-4, 23-24, Luke 1:57-66

Deep darkness covered the earth. God’s people were threatened with destruction. When the people felt most helpless, the prophet Malachi spoke a word of promise and hope. The long-awaited Messiah was coming, and the messenger of the covenant would precede him to prepare the hearts of the people to receive him. Our faith tells us that we are people who are loved by God despite our imperfections. Through the Incarnation, God humbled Himself and made His dwelling among us. The pandemic has enabled us, perhaps for the first time in our lives, to recognize the deeply interconnected relationship of all people. I came across a song written by Bruce Springsteen that spoke to the promise.

Now I know it can feel like you’re slipping away, at night you’ll get
lost in that deep dark place
We’ll let the night come and do what it may, together we’ll find the
courage, we’ll find faith
Until you awake
I’ll stand by you always, always, always (Bruce Springsteen)

Advent is a season for conversion, a hopeful, forward-looking time that keeps spiritual growth as a priority. The times of quarantine and isolation are times to refine and purify our hearts. The deepest longing of the human heart prepares us to receive the Only-begotten Son, who is God’s gift of love for the human race. Many people are talking about COVID meltdown. The use of this term is intriguing. You must melt down precious metals to refine them. The crucible of the pandemic allows us to discover our true identity. The human heart is made for God and is ever restless until it rests in God’s heart. If we allow ourselves to be immersed in the fire of divine love, we will eventually hear the small voice speaking to our hearts: I am with you. I have never left you, nor shall I ever leave you.” The Lord Jesus prepares our heart to be his temple, by the ministry of his word and the overshadowing of his Spirit, he enters it as the Messenger of peace and consolation. Let us resolve to love what God loves and desire what He promises, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found. As we embrace our neediness, we can receive the gift of God’s love. It is then that we can celebrate the gift of God’s son with hearts full of hope. Let us strive to live every moment of every day of our lives, at peace with God, at peace with our neighbors. St John XXIII, in his Christmas message of 1962, offered this prayer: ‘O Eternal Word of the Father, Son of God and Mary, renew once again today, in the secret of our soul, the wondrous prodigy of your birth’.

O Emmanuel, King and Giver of the Law, the Desire of the Nations, and the
Savior of all peoples come and set us free, O Lord our God.