DIVINE SELECTION AT THE SERVICE OF THE MESSIAH HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT (YEAR B) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD

divine-selection1

From my earliest times in school, I noticed that most people are selected for specific functions based on what the authorities perceive about them which could be physical or attitudinal. For instance those who are selected to be in-charge of manual labour are those who appear to be strong and duty conscious. Those who are selected to be in-charge of sanitary are those who appear clean and tidy. Those in-charge of sports are those who are attuned to sporting activities. Senior prefects are mostly orators and people with conceivable leadership qualities

What has been established above could be seen when God chooses someone for a specific function. But the difference is that He sees beyond our level of seeing as human beings and the same applies to whom He chooses. He can select what is humanly small to undertake a very big project; He can choose the weak to shame the strong (1 Cor.1:27). This is where God’s grace comes in. For every divine vision there is always a divine provision. For every divine function there is a corresponding divine unction.

Today being the fourth and last Sunday of Advent we are presented with what could rightly be considered as divine selection which eventually brought about the emergence of the messiah. In the First Reading (2 Sam. 7, 1-5. 8-11.16) we are presented with the plan of King David to build a temple for God and how God through the prophet Nathan rejected the offer. One would like to know why God turned down David’s offer. In the reply given by the oracle of Isaiah, we don’t see a specific reason but rather a recast or throwback of God’s selection of David from being a shepherd to being a King.

The story of David’s selection from among his brothers remains very interesting and instructive. God sent Samuel to Bethlehem (house of bread) to the household of Jesse to anoint a new King since the incumbent (Saul) had being rejected by God. God can actually select and deselect anybody the way and manner He chooses! Jesse had eight sons but seven where at home when Samuel visited. The first among them, Eliab, had all the physical prerequisites of a King. If it were in a high school setting, he could pass for the head boy. Samuel wanted to anoint him when God told him not to do so as He (God) does not see as men do. In fact none among the seven of them could make the list; only David the last and the one they considered small and weak made it. The Kingship of David was therefore by divine selection. We then ask: “Why was it necessary to make a recast of David’s selection in the event of building a house for God as we saw in the First Reading today?

The answer to the above could be found in the last verse (16) where God promised to secure the house of David, his Kingdom and his throne forever. This is a pointer to the eternal Kingdom which the messiah would bring. We understand this clearly from God’s messianic message to Mary through the angel which stated among other things that: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32). God was actually telling David He (God) selects individuals for various functions and not individuals selecting themselves for divine functions as many would do in our society today.

The Gospel Reading (Luke 1:26-38) gives us another significant instance of divine selection. This time it was directed to a virgin whose name is Mary and who had been betrothed to a man named Joseph. Simply put, Mary was selected by God to be the mother of the messiah. We could ask why was she selected among all the young ladies of her time. Was it on account for her beauty, social status, prayer life or any other personal attribute? The answer is no! It is all about the grace of God at work. It is the grace of God that locates; selects and confirms us for specific tasks.

Divine selection is something that we often cannot understand as human beings. That is why St. Paul in the Second Reading (Romans 16:25-27) would refer to it as a mystery that has been kept for ages but has been revealed. God does not select the perfect but He perfects His grace on anyone He selects. In God’s selection process class, size, and geography do not matter:

  • David was the least among his brothers but God found him most appropriate to sit on the throne; hence his selection as the King after Saul. Divine selection!

 

  • Mary was not a highly placed lady of her time; in fact she came from a small insignificant town called Nazareth where people wonder if anything good could come (John 1:46). However she found favour in God’s sight to be the mother of the saviour. Divine selection!

 

 

  • Both David and Mary received unction from the Holy Spirit for the function they were called to carry out. (1 Sam. 16:13; Luke 1:35).Divine confirmation.

 

  • The life and activities of both David and Mary were directed at the coming of the messiah. Divine purpose.

In all these we understand that the coming of the messiah was not a historical accident. It was an event totally based on a divine plan or purpose which included divine selection and confirmation. As we await the coming of the messiah in few days from today let us bear in mind that we are also divinely selected for certain purposes in life. Like David and Mary we are expected to cooperate with God in order to have the accomplishment of the divine plan in our lives.

Some people feel that divine selection is dependent on what one has or where one is coming from and the possible human connections. This is absolutely wrong. Your background has no right to put your back on the ground when it comes to divine selection. God can make His selection from unusual and imponderable places. The angel that visited Mary made it clear that with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). This is a recommendation that is worth adopting as we prepare to launch into the New Year. Do not allow your size, status, location and other variable to discourage you from advancing to where God has designed for you.

As we wait for the coming of our saviour into our hearts in few days, it will be very appropriate for us to put into focus all that we have been told in the preceding Sundays of Advent bothering on preparation, active and joyful waiting and creating room for him in our hearts. The message of advent among other things is challenging us to respond to God’s selection of your heart and mine as the birthplaces of our saviour. David responded with a yes by kneeling before Samuel to be anointed. Mary responded with a very resounding FIAT (let it be done to me as you have said). What would be your own response?

Have an invigorating last Sunday of Advent.

Fr. Bonnie

(fatherbonny@hotmail.com).

 

One Comment on “DIVINE SELECTION AT THE SERVICE OF THE MESSIAH HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT (YEAR B) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD

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