Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 20. 2020 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E., Chaplain,
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
Sunday Reading Meditations
Today’s readings tell us that God fulfills his promises. As today’s responsorial psalm says, “[t]he promises of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness” (Ps 89:2).
The New Testament fulfills the Old Testament. In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus declares: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place” (Mt 5:17–18).
In today’s first reading, a promise is made to David: “The LORD also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you. […] I will raise up your heir after you, […] and I will make his kingdom firm. […] Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever” (2 Sm 7:11–13).
In today’s Gospel, we see the fulfillment of the messianic promise when the archangel Gabriel says to Mary that her son “will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:32–33).
God’s plan is inexorably fulfilled. As the archangel Gabriel says, “for nothing will be impossible for God” (Lk 1:37). Zechariah does not believe that it would be possible for him to be the father of John the Baptist. He replies to Gabriel: “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years” (Lk 1:18). Even our skepticism cannot prevent God from fulfilling his plans. Human limits and sins do not prevent God from leading all things to completion.
The fulfillment of the Scripture is a sign of the fulfillment of all things in Christ. The history of salvation includes all human history and the entire cosmos. The Holy Spirit is moving all things toward completion. In God’s plan, everything becomes part of a great symphony. One movement follows another toward a magnificent finale, when God will be all in all.
God does not fulfill his plan without human collaboration. Today’s Gospel presents Mary’s role in the Incarnation of the Word of God: “Mary said: ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word’ (Lk 1:38). Mary’s consent and obedience of faith were essential for the fulfillment of God’s plan. She had a unique mission, which Saint Paul mentions in the second reading: “The revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages” (Rom 16:25). In Mary’s heart, God fulfills all things. In the apparitions of Fatima, this is what Mary called the triumph of her Immaculate Heart. With her “yes,” she became the place where everything returns to the Father in Christ, through the action of the Holy Spirit.
God fulfills his promises. This knowledge fills our hearts with hope. Scripture is a promise, the world is a promise, and we are a promise. “Until all things have taken place” (Mt 5:18), we can follow Mary’s example and participate in the fulfilment of God’s plan with our consent to God’s will and the obedience of our faith. Amen.