FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT – YEAR B 19th / 20th December, 2020

Annunciation stories are an established literary form. There are a number of such stories in the Hebrew Scriptures—for example, the births of Isaac, Samson and Samuel— and, of course, Luke has already recorded the annunciation of John the Baptist. The purpose of the annunciation story is to let the reader know what role the person whose birth is announced will play in salvation history. In this sense, they are a literary device rather than a strictly historical narrative, although clearly based on ancient memory. In the annunciation of the birth of Jesus, however, there are elements that surpass all other annunciation stories. The emphasis is on the creative action of the Holy Spirit and on Mary’s cooperation with God’s will, and it establishes Jesus’ transcendental origins. The role that the child to be born is to play in salvation history is defined in terms of Davidic messiahship, and on this last Sunday of Advent, we stand on the brink of the fulfilment of the promise made to Mary of messianic hope for the world. The tension of the waiting of Advent is almost over.  Do you ever wonder why God has chosen you and set you on this journey of the catechumenate?  Where do you think this journey will ultimately lead you?