Friday 31 October 2014

4th Sunday of Advent Year B

Many of us like to give and receive gifts. Sometimes the gift could be something big, or something small, or something expensive, or something cheap, or something valuable or precious, or even something useful to us or we think is useful to the person receiving the gift. As we are approaching Christmas, some of us may begin to scurry about frantically looking for different gifts for different people, some of us may begin shopping for new clothing, some of us may even begin stocking up different types of food, fruits, drinks and other delicacies, so that we would be well prepared for the upcoming celebrations. But if we consider for a moment... when we are choosing a gift or purchasing something, are we choosing something that we like and we think that the other person would like as well? Or are we choosing something which the other person really likes?

In the first reading, we come across King David who thought he ought to build a temple to house the ark of the Covenant. Perhaps King David felt guilty that God had done so much for him and he had not done anything or had not done enough in response. Perhaps King David felt uncomfortable and thought that it was improper or not dignified enough for the ark of God to dwell in a tent while he lived in a house of cedar. But instead of gifting God a temple, King David received a greater gift from God. God blessed King David and promised him a dynasty that will last forever, and also make him great in the midst of all nations.

Some of us think that we owe God something in return for the many things God has given us. Some of us may subscribe to a "you scratch my back, I scratch yours" mentality, thinking that we can get more blessings or favours from God through our gifts (as though we could bribe God). But God cannot be bribed. Everything we have comes from Him and is actually a gift from Him to us. God chooses to give us many gifts, and we must learn to receive and accept from God whatever he wishes to give us. This is an attitude or quality which Mary displayed in the Gospel. She had nothing to give God, for she had no power, no possession; nothing. And yet, God chose her as the mother of His Son Jesus. God blessed her with such a gift because Mary was willing to receive and accept God's gift; she was willing and humble enough to listen to God's will when she said: "I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let what you have said be done to me."

When we gift something to others, we are in control, since we decide what we give. On the other hand, when we receive something, we have no power or control over what we receive. When God gives us something, we cannot dictate what we want to receive from Him; God chooses what is best for us, and we can decide to accept or reject the gift. For some, not having control over the gift which we may receive could be a scary situation. But why should we be afraid? Are we not confident or trusting enough in God's choice? Let us be willing and humble enough to let God take control of our lives and receive the many blessings and gifts He bestows on us.

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