Emmanuel — God Is With Us – Fr. Mark


4th Sunday of Advent – Year B

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: Dec 24, 2017

Emmanuel – God is with us. It is an incredible act of God, to come among us, as a weak, vulnerable baby. But, God chooses to work through human instruments, never bypasses human freedom. We are given the challenge of freedom, the freedom that requires us to be responsible.

In the Annunciation, it is Mary who must freely say Yes, her fiat, her free acceptance of the will of God. She faced uncertainty, fear, all of her plans for her future turned upside down. God enters human history, time, our human world thru very human ways and instruments. In Mary we see that our life decisions can make a big difference. God works thru our decisions. Our decisions are able to allow God’s presence to enter our world or our decisions can block God’s presence in our world.

We sometimes see the Christmas story, as a nice, sentimental story. But, actually it was a very real human drama, a traumatic, difficult moment in the lives of real human beings. Full of stress, probably tears and confusion. And crucial decisions had to be made by different people.

Human decisions in life are not always simple and clear. Life can be complex, ambiguous, full of uncertainty. Mary is pregnant.

Both Mary and Joseph faced disappointment, hurt, anger, confusion. Surely they were fearful. Both had to say Yes.
Joseph could have easily rejected her, refused to take on this responsibility. Mary was not forced to be the mother of the Saviour. She could have freely said no. Their decisions mattered, they made a difference.

For both of them, we hear those words, Be not afraid.

Fear is often the obstacle that keeps us thinking in small ways, trapped in anger, self pity.

Faith allows us to go beyond fear, to love.

Emmanuel – God is with us. This presence of God depends on us human beings and on our decisions in everyday life.

Parents – Be a parent so that it is possible in your family to say, Emmanuel – God is with us.

Business leaders – Be in business so that it is possible to say, Emmanuel – God is with us.

All in your Work or study – Be there in such a way that it is possible to say Emmanuel – God is with us.

Politics and our political decisions as a society – make decisions so that we can say Emmanuel – God is with us.

The decision of Joseph mattered. The decision of Mary mattered. Your decisions in life matter. Live and make decisions to allow God to be with us.

Overcome fear that keeps us selfish, small minded and allow faith to lead us into decisions that are open to love.

In making decisions, our key question should be: What would be the best decision to allow us to say Emmanuel – God is with us.

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