4th SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Jesus and Satan have an argument as to who is the
better computer programmer.
Eventually they agree to hold a contest with God as the judge. They
set themselves before their computers and begin. They type furiously
for several hours; lines of code streaming up the screen. Seconds
before the end of the competition, a bolt of lightning strikes and
takes out the electricity. Moments later, the power is restored,
and God announces that the contest is over. He asks Satan to show
what he has come up with. Satan is visibly upset, and cries, ‘I
have nothing! I lost it all when the power went out.’ ‘Very
well, then,’ says God, ‘let us see if Jesus fared any
better.’ Jesus enters a command, and the screen comes to life
in vivid display, the voices of an angelic choir pour forth from
the speakers. Satan is astonished. He stutters, ‘But how?
I lost everything, how can Jesus' program be intact?’ God
chuckles and says, ‘Ah – because Jesus saves.’
On this final Sunday of Advent the Church moves our gaze to the
Annunciation. The whole scene hinges around one word: ‘Yes.’
Mary's fiat sets in motion the entire Christian drama. In his film
Jesus of Nazareth Franco Zeffirelli pictures the Annunciation this
way: Mary is asleep at night when a gust of wind opens a high window.
Afraid at all the commotion Mary gets up and starts to pray. As
she prays, we see her face change and her body bend over. With tears
in her eyes, Mary looks up through the window to the moonlit sky
and simply says, ‘Yes’. The swirling wind dies down
In recent years successive popes have reminded us that the best
devotion to Mary is one that leads us to do what she did: say ‘yes’
to Jesus. Mary is not a stop on our journey of faith; she is a guidepost
that always sends us on to Christ. Mary does not save us, for we
believe she needed to be saved by Christ as well. That's why she
could say yes in the first place. Mary recognised the gift and the
giver and became the bearer of God for the world.
In this final week of Advent let's keep reminding ourselves of this
simple but life-changing fact: Jesus saves us. Jesus saves us from
death. Jesus saves us from living lives devoid of purpose and meaning
and Jesus saves us from ourselves.
We don't save ourselves. We cannot earn salvation by good works
or prayers or penance. And, as difficult as it is to hear, we cannot
save anyone else. That includes our children, spouse, grandchildren,
parents or friends.
Our prayers, good works and faith are the responses we make to the
salvation of Christ we claim here and now. And how we live is the
way by which those we love will find the gift of God's salvation
In the midst of this frantic final week before Christmas when so
many other things can distract us from what this grace-filled feast
is really all about, let's take a moment to join Mary in accepting
into our lives and hearts the greatest of all gifts – our
undeserved salvation, Jesus Christ the Lord.
READINGS THIS WEEK
2 Sm 7:1-5. 8-12. 14. 16
The Lord speaks to Nathan.
God strengthens the Gentiles in their understanding of the Gospel.
The angel Gabriel visits Mary, who responds willingly to God.
the people of St Francis Xavier - St Clare parish, seek to live
lives, celebrating God’s presence & our faith values
through worship, outreach, service, justice & hospitality.
our Vision Statement
Next meeting: 5 February 2015
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