God Works Through History

Homily for Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

I’ve been reflecting on this particular Gospel passage for a few weeks now. It was the Gospel I picked for the Night of Merciful Love a couple of weeks ago and it made up a large portion of the talks for the Advent morning of reflection for the Council of Catholic Women (CCW) that I had the privilege of leading last Saturday. So, it’s been at the forefront of my thoughts for a bit this Advent. But, honestly, it’s a good Gospel to reflect on, even though it has a bunch of names that I have trouble pronouncing.

One of the things that the genealogy of Jesus shows us is just how far the Father’s plan of salvation goes back. We know that the need for salvation came about because of the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As a result of that one decision, all of humanity was no longer in the state of eternal communion with God. And so, the Lord put into motion His plan to bring us back into communion with Him. That plan really began with Abraham and Sarah then continued throughout the generations all the way to the birth of Jesus. In today’s Gospel, we basically have a recap of how the Lord has been working to save us since Adam and Eve.

But it also reveals something much more important to us: the fulfillment of that plan hasn’t yet been realized. One day it will be, though, when Jesus returns in glory. On that day, all of us who remain faithful to God will be filled with divine life and will realize the fullness of what it means to be beloved sons and daughters of God. That expectation is at the heart of everything God has done throughout history. It is at the heart of everything God has done in our own lives.

In my own reflection on this Gospel – and this actually flows out of a conversation that I had with one of you on Sunday evening – I found myself thinking about how the Father had put all of the pieces of the puzzle together for Jesus to be born. Every little thing was arranged just perfectly to make that a reality. But here’s the part that got me: God has done the very same thing with each one of us. Think about this for a minute: if one second of history had been different in your family background, you may not be here right now…if just one second had been different. The Lord loves each of us so much that He arranged it just perfectly for us to be born and to be given a chance to experience His love and to live with Him for all eternity. That’s how much God loves each of us. And because of that love, He invites us to participate more fully in His divine life.

We know that His plan of salvation has not yet been fully realized. So, logically, that means that it is still unfolding. Just like He worked throughout history to use ordinary men and women to bring us salvation, He continues working now in and through us. He continues to use us, ordinary men and women, to eventually realize the fullness of His will. Are we willing to let Him use us?

As we continue throughout the remainder of Advent, I hope this will be a reflection all of us undertake. Give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives – even the things in our family histories that we don’t realize were from Him. And may we constantly ask Him for the grace to continue striving to be willing to be the instruments He uses to bring His plan of salvation to full realization.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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