4th Sunday of Advent, A


Matthew 1:18-24

This 4th week of Advent marks the completion of lighting of the 4 candles signifying the completeness of the light that shines the world; that the whole world is lit on Christmas day - that light is Jesus himself.

Today, we hear the name, "Emmanuel", which means "God-with-us."  Our hope and prayer is for us to experience the overwhelming presence of God not only on Christmas but everyday of our lives.

God revealed himself in the Old Testament as One who "hears the cry of the poor" (Ps 34).  He is God because he will free Israel from slavery of Egypt and will guide them into the promised land.

His name is "Yahweh" which means, "I am who am." (Ex 3:13-15) The two-fold meaning of eternal presence and the ability to save us is the constant theme of his very Godhead.

His promise is fulfilled in his Son Jesus who frees us from sin and leads us back to the Father.  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; He has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor... " (Lk 4:18-19)

And now, His presence is felt and experienced in his Church, the body of Christ.  The Church becomes the living sign of the saving presence of God.