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Sunday, December 21, 2008

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16
Romans 16:25-27
Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29
Luke 1:26-38

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the peace of christmas

"I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place without further disturbance." —2 Samuel 7:10

The Lord promised David rest from his enemies (2 Sm 7:11). This promise of peace was surprising since violence was David's "claim to fame" (see 1 Sm 18:7). From cutting off Goliath's head to setting up Uriah's murder, David lived an extremely violent life. People must have laughed when they heard David was promised peace. Nevertheless, the promise at first seemed fulfilled because David's son Solomon (Solomon means "peace") had a peaceful reign. But David's grandson Rehoboam started a civil war. One war led to more wars. Israel had no peace. It seemed as if God's promise of peace to David's house was not kept.

After almost a thousand years, the archangel Gabriel announced to Mary: "You shall conceive and bear a Son and give Him the name Jesus. Great will be His dignity and He will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of David His father" (Lk 1:31-32). When this Child was born on the first Christmas, the angels sang: "Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth" (Lk 2:14). It seemed as if God's ancient promise of peace was finally fulfilled, for Jesus talked about loving enemies, turning the other cheek, making peace (Mt 5:44, 39, 9) and giving peace (Jn 14:27). However, we eventually killed Jesus, our Peace (Eph 2:14), and continue warring to the present day.

God's promise of peace to David's house has been fulfilled in Jesus. All who live totally for Jesus have peace beyond understanding (Phil 4:7). This peace is not something imposed on us, but Someone proposing to us. Accept Jesus our Peace.

Prayer:  Father, may we beat our missiles into plowshares and our bombs into pruning hooks (Is 2:4).

Promise:  "Let it be done to me as you say." —Lk 1:38

Praise:  "O Radiant Dawn, Splendor of eternal light, Sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death."

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 17, 2008

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