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4th Sunday of Advent
The Lord … will establish a house for you. (2 Samuel 7:11)
Imagine David’s surprise when God denied his request to build a temple but promised instead to build a house for David—a royal dynasty that would never end!
Like David, we often think that human hands can build a house for God. We think if we spend enough time accomplishing tasks in our churches or doing enough charitable works, we can establish his kingdom on earth. We tend to forget that the Christian life has just as much to do with humbly receiving unmerited grace from a powerful and generous God. We tend to forget God’s greatest desire—to build his personality, his priorities, and his passions within us.
There is a wonderful story about the late Vietnamese cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan who, while still a young bishop, was arrested and imprisoned by his government. Van Thuan was so devastated at not being able to complete the projects that he had started for God that he went nights without sleeping. Then one night he heard a voice saying, “Everything you have done and desire to continue doing … are God’s works, but they are not God. Choose God and not the works of God.”
These words changed Van Thuan’s whole way of thinking. He found a new peace and strength to surmount moments in prison that were almost unbearable.
In his book, Testimony of Hope, Cardinal Van Thuan referred to Mary as a prime example of choosing God and not the works of God. “She abandoned her projects without fully understanding the mystery that was being accomplished in her body and in her destiny.” By her fiat, Mary allowed God to build within her a house for Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. May we follow her example and let God build his house within and among us.
“Jesus, I surrender to you. Come and dwell within me, so that I may give you glory.”
Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29
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