God Always Fulfills his Promise

(December 20, 2020)

Bottom line: Confident that God always fulfills his promise we join Mary in saying, "May it be done to me according to your word"..

This may surprise some of you but one of my best retreats was under the direction of Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez. Since he had fame as the "father of liberation theology" I was braced for social analysis. Instead he focused on the Bible and spirituality. He began by making this observation: You can understand the Bible between two poles: promise and fulfillment. God makes promises and then he fulfills them. God is different from us. We make promises but often don't fulfill them. God, on the other hand, always fulfills his promises.

We see this promise and fulfillment in today's readings. God makes an extraordinary promise to King David. "Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever." Our Psalm reiterates this promise "I have sworn to David my servant: Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations".

The house of David is a royal dynasty. From history we know that dynasties are fragile. Consider the House of Tudor which included King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth. It lasted a little over a century. In our country we have quasi-dynasties like the Kennedy's and Bush's. The Bible would refer to them as the House of Kennedy and the House of Bush. Dynasties generally do not fare well. The House of David had a rocky history but its rule lasted more than four centuries. And then came the Babylonians. They brought that rule to a terrible end.

So what can we say about God's promise to David? Well, as we see today, God not only fulfills the promise, but super-fulfills it. After long preparation, at just the right time, God sends an angel to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph of the House of David. The angel says to the Virgin Mary, "Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus." This refers to virginal conception of Jesus. Then Gabriel says, "He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father".

God keeps his promise, often in extraordinary and surprising ways. St. Paul speaks about "the mystery kept secret for long ages but now manifested through the prophetic writings and, according to the command of the eternal God, made known to all nations..."

This is the mystery we celebrate in just a few days. God always keeps his promise. He often does it in ways that go beyond our expectations. We are now accompanying Mary and Joseph on the road to Bethlehem - the City of David. We greet Mary with the words of the angel, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you." Confident that God always fulfills his promise we join Mary in saying, "May it be done to me according to your word". Amen


Spanish Version (Word document)

From Archives (Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year B):

2017: God's Thirst, Our Thirst Week 4: Nothing Impossible With God
2014: Preparing Our Hearts Week 4
2011: The Promise of God (40th anniversary homily)
2008: The Greatest Boast of our Race
2005: The New Eve
2002: Hail, Full of Grace!
1999: Mary's Vow of Virginity
1998: Iraq & Birth of Jesus

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru