Daily Reflection
December 19th, 1999
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
The Fourth Sunday of Advent
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16
Psalms 89:2-5, 27, 29
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

The work of any family is to make their house a home.  David, in our first reading for this Advent Sunday, feels a bit embarrassed about having his rest in a beautiful palace, while the residence for the Ark of God, dwells in a mere tent.  We hear a long speech by God through the Prophet Nathan reminding David of God's fidelity in the past and the future of David's family line.  "The Lord also reveals to you that He will establish a house for you."

Those who will proclaim the second reading will have to take one very deep breath, because the reading is one long praise of God's secret and plan which has been revealed through Jesus Christ.

The wondrous gospel we hear today tells of the angel coming into the house of Mary and preparing her to make a home for the secret soon to be shared.  The presence of God, once carried about in a tent, remains portable, moveable, accompaniable in the tent of the flesh of one human being.

David both desires a more honorable place for God's presence, but also falls into the most human desire, that is of wanting stability, permanence and locateability.  We all want to have that for ourselves and also for our God.  We want to be able to locate God and go there and find answers.  God wants to be with us where we are, where we really live.  God wants to locate us and accompany us and prove faithful to us as God was to David.

The house God promises to David is the sacred Body of Jesus.  "Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me."  The house of David will become the home for the Word-Made-Flesh.  Prophesies and promises lie waiting for their fulfillment.  Mary waits, knowing well the tradition of her faith; there will be fullness.  Mary is moved and troubled by the visit and the message.  She is to play her part in completing the promise and telling the secret.

We are preparing these days to make our houses of stone, brick and wood, homes of welcome, warmth and love.  Our God is ever laboring to make a home in us for Jesus.  God labors to find room to wedge a way through our personally-arranged fullnesses.  The empty womb, the empty stable, the empty world were all available for His taking up residence.  God told Nathan that a human house was not big enough; what is big enough is human emptiness, human longing and human openness to the God-prepared completion. 

There is a virginal aspect to our human hearts.  Nothing has penetrated to the place where only God's love can make our hearts a home.  There is and will always be, an incompleteness within every experience of human love.  Perhaps the image of our physical hearts with the little declivity at the top, is a perfect symbol for Advent more than Valentine's Day. 

While making our houses homes these days, we pray with the empty places of our lives.  All the friends and family, all the gifts given and received, all the warmth and welcomes extended, are all both quite real and sacramentally symbolic of how God wants to make places in our flesh for the Word to make "new Nazareths and new Bethlehems."

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.
Online Ministries
Home Page
for Sunday
Online Retreat
Daily Readings Texts
from the
New American Bible
Daily Readings Texts
from the
RSV Bible
Spirituality Links
Saint of the Day
Collaborative Ministry Office 
Home Page
University Ministry
Home Page
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook