Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Obedience of Faith

Reflections on the Readings

Fourth Sunday of Advent - December 21, 2014 - Year B

The Obedience of Faith

Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)

What makes this time of the year so wonderful? After all, not everyone embraces the wonder, the beauty, the hope of the celebration of Christmas. The so called annual Christmas wars reveal concerns if not outright hostility to giving public space to displays of the Creche. Do I hear a sigh of disgust? I know, its appalling! But in a culture that has aborted millions of its babies what makes a baby born two thousand years ago special? 

When our officers of peace use excessive measures resulting in the death of our sons and daughters, don't we need more of Christmas rather than less? Do I hear an Amen? What we need, what our hearts yearn for, is for more of Jesus, is for more of his saving goodness, not less. Eliza Hewitt wrote the lyrics to More About Jesus, a beautiful hymn she composed in 1887:

More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me. 

Ms. Hewitt wrote her songs from a bed of pain. Her debilitating spinal condition was caused by a reckless student striking her on her back with a slate. Instead of sinking into the deeper depths of despair, Ms. Hewitt went deeper into Christ. In her pain she sought to know more about Jesus. Our strength, our hope, our help, is in the same Jesus Ms. Hewitt wrote and sang about. Grand Juries may fail us, but the holy child Jesus, resting in Mary's womb, will bring us goodness and light; he is full of grace and truth.

So let us not surrender to the violence we harbor in our hearts. Rather, let's embrace more profoundly to be obedient to the faith. To let the wisdom that is from above, that is first pure, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, and is without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy, be our guide. To surrender to the hope of this season we approach and say with an obedient heart with Mary, "Here I am, a servant of the Lord." Then will the world be a better place, our homes true sanctuaries of holiness, and our hearts filled with that holy mystery lying in a manger. Amen.  

Dennis Hankins, a Catholic Evangelist, is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at:

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