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A new humanity – 4th Sunday of Advent
By tradition, on the fourth Sunday of Advent we say prayers for Mary; we light the fourth Advent candle in her honour, we recall that she is to bear a child, under frightening circumstances, being little more than a child herself.
Patriarchal societies can sometimes be cruel and unjust, especially to women. But such has been the culture and practice of countless numbers of men throughout history – who have bullied, abused, intimidated and dominated their way through life, when in fact it was a woman who bore them and gave them life and so often extended to them acts of kindness that they little deserved and most certainly did not repay. But this, as it turns out, was not Joseph’s way. What can we learn from the examples of both Mary and Joseph?
Whether they be church-goers or not, most people if you asked them would agree; Advent is most definitely a time of preparation.
But, of course, the key question is preparation for what?
Indeed, the very notion of preparation would imply that we have some understanding of that for which we prepare.
Christ the King could be considered a somewhat awkward Sunday to celebrate. It can strike a rather discordant note, and ring the wrong kind of bells.
It carries the danger of conjuring up images of a Byzantine royal court of power, of wealth, riches and status.
Today’s Parable of the Talents is not really about money – despite the fact that Matthew’s listeners would have been shocked into awed silence by the sums mentioned.
Whenever we read scripture we do need to remember who was the immediate intended audience.