Homily ·Advent
By Archbishop Gomez
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
December 20, 2020

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1

Christmas is coming. It is only a few days away. And we are sure that we have our hearts open to the coming of Jesus on Christmas day, because we want to receive him in a special way this year.

In our Gospel today, we heard the beautiful story of the Annunciation — as the Angel Gabriel reveals to Mary and to us the coming of God’s Son:

Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He 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 as we know this is the key moment in salvation history, a turning point in God’s plan for creation, his plan for our lives.

So, we reflect today on this mystery that Mary knew for nine months — this mystery of the Son of God growing in her womb, the heart of the Savior beating beneath her own heart.

In our first reading, we hear another turning point in God’s plan of salvation. Long before the coming of Christ, we hear the announcement of prophet Nathan to King David.

The Lord also reveals to you
That he will establish a house for you
And when your time comes
And you rest with your ancestors
I will rise up your heir after you
And I will be a father to him
And he shall be a son to me

And of course, Jesus is the Son of David! His Kingdom and his throne will endure forever! This the beginning of the mystery of Christmas and the history of salvation in a special way.

And again, we are reminded that God is the Lord of history.

St. Paul tells us in the second reading — that the coming of Jesus is “the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages … made known [now] to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith.”

And my dear brothers and sisters, we are a part of this history. We are, each one of us, a part of the beautiful story of love that God is writing down through the ages.

Salvation history is not only about the past. It is also about the present. It is about your life and my life.

As we come close to the celebration of Christmas, it’s good to stop and think about how beautiful it is that we are part of the plan of God from history in the simplicity of our own personal lives.

This is why our Gospel today centers us on the figure of Mary, our Blessed Mother. Because Mary is the model for our relationship with God.

Jesus must be born in every heart, just as he was born in the heart of Mary. And for that, obviously, we must say “yes” to God — just as Mary did.

When Mary heard the angel’s words at the Annunciation, she was troubled, even I would say, afraid. And it is true, the realities of our life can sometimes be troubling. Especially during this year of the pandemic.

But my brothers and sisters, God is with us. By our side. Even now, in this year that has been so challenging for all of us. God comes to us, and he speaks those same words that the angel spoke to Mary: “Do not be afraid.” 

So Mary is our model, she is the faithful one.

She does not run away from God. Instead, she opens her heart to him. She listens to his voice, she answers his call by offering him her life.

We heard her words in the Gospel today:

Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your Word.

And these beautiful words — Mary’s words — changed the course of history. By her “yes” to God she makes it possible for our Lord to enter into our lives.

Mary says, Not my will, but your will! Not what I want, but what you want. And this is exactly, my dear brothers and sisters, what God wants from each one of us.

It is true, she does not know where her “yes” will take her. But she is ready to go. She puts her future in God’s hands. She surrenders to his love.

So today we need to open our hearts to the will of God for each one of us personally. We want to say, just as our Blessed Mother did, “yes” to God. “Yes” to his will, “yes” to his plan for our life.

So these days, especially, let us continue to reflect on how we are part of God’s plan for history, for the coming of his Kingdom. Let us remember that God invites us to join him in building this Kingdom. And we do that, as Mary our Blessed Mother did, through our act of faithfulness, through following Jesus, sharing his love, growing in his holiness.

So today, as we get ready for Christmas, let us ask for the grace to be more like Mary our Blessed Mother, making our lives totally available to serve God. We need to say, as Mary did — I want to do I want to do your will, I want to do everything in my power to carry out God’s plan.

Let us ask Mary our Blessed Mother to intercede for us and guide us. May she help us live as she did — listening to God, looking for the signs of his presence in our lives. May she help us to say, as she did, let be it done to me according to your Word

1. Readings: 2 Sam 7:1-5; 8b-12, 14a, 16; Ps. 89:2-5, 27, 29; Rom. 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38.

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