Let the Lord enter, he is the King of Glory! Psalm 24 This seems to be the invitation to all of God’s people today, this Fourth Sunday of Advent. It is clearly the invitation to the individuals of our readings today.
King Ahaz, King of Judah, is facing an assault from two powerful nations. He is trembling along with all the people of Judah at the threat before them. The Prophet Isaiah approaches the King and tells him that God is willing to do anything for him, if he but have faith. So, he is asked to ask for a sign, as high as the heavens or as deep as the netherworld. But King Ahaz falters, for his faith is weak, and his trust is only in his worldly power, which he sees is not strong enough to defend him in the present moment.
So, the Prophet scolds the king and foretells of the power of God: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” At a time when it seems the throne of David will fall, and the promise of God seems highly improbable that David’s kingdom shall last forever, The Prophet gives a sign just as unlikely; a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, God with us.”
We are now just days before the celebration of the fulfillment of this promise, the birth of the Son of David, the Son of God, who comes with salvation for his people. We, too, are invited to “Let the King enter, for he is the King of Glory!” We too more than likely are facing worldly realities of our own that cause us to doubt God’s promises, God’s fidelity, and God’s power. Perhaps we are even fearful of events of our time, be they personal, social, political, economic realities that threaten the life we envision for ourselves.
In the Gospel today, we see Joseph, the quintessential ‘quiet man’ listening to the plan of God as revealed by an angel in a dream. Joseph, who had his own ‘dream’ and vision for his life with Mary, now threatened by the news that she is ‘with child’ which he knows is not his own.
Joseph, a strong and faith-filled man, from the line of David, the tribe of Judah, is the link to the sign of the Prophet Isaiah and the promise to David that his kingdom shall have no end. Joseph now receives the message: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Joseph, because of his trust in God, now freely takes Mary into his home as his wife, and in so doing, ‘Lets the Lord, the King of Glory’ enter his home, his life, and into the history of salvation. Joseph is a model for us of great faith. We, too, are to trust in God in the moments that seem most confusing, when our life and our future seemingly make no sense. These are the times we are to freely welcome the Lord, the King of Glory.
As Joseph ‘adopts Jesus’ as his own son, Jesus, the Son of God, now adopts us as children of God. Such are the mysterious ways of God.
Mary also at the Annunciation was asked to freely ‘Let the Lord, the King of Glory’ enter her life in the most intimate manner. Mary, who is the virgin who is to conceive a son who will bring salvation for his people, is asked to freely welcome the power of God. Once again, Mary models for us the beauty of a life lived in full cooperation with the Divine will.
We now are asked to place our hope and our trust in God. We now are asked to ‘Let the Lord enter, the King of Glory!’ WE are asked to give our free consent to let the Lord enter our life, our home, our world.
He comes with salvation for his people. He comes to save us – to free us from our sins. We do not save ourselves. WE cannot forgive or atone for our own sins. We need a savior. WE need Jesus. Hi is the WORD made flesh who dwells among us.
Will we let him enter? The King of Glory? Why should we allow him into our life? What does he bring?
Hear the words of the Prophet Zephaniah: “The Lord, your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives you the victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing, as on a day of festival”
Hear the words of the Prophet Isaiah:
Listen to me, O coastlands,
pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The Lord called me before I was born,
while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.
2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me away.
3 And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
4 But I said, “I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my cause is with the Lord,
and my reward with my God.”
5 And now the Lord says,
who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
and that Israel might be gathered to him,
for I am honored in the sight of the Lord,
and my God has become my strength—
6 he says,
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to restore the survivors of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
7 Thus says the Lord,
the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations,
the slave of rulers,
“Kings shall see and stand up,
princes, and they shall prostrate themselves,
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
Zion’s Children to Be Brought Home
8 Thus says the Lord:
In a time of favor I have answered you,
on a day of salvation I have helped you;
I have kept you and given you
as a covenant to the people,[a]
to establish the land,
to apportion the desolate heritages;
9 saying to the prisoners, “Come out,”
to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.”
They shall feed along the ways,
on all the bare heights[b] shall be their pasture;
10 they shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
and by springs of water will guide them.
11 And I will turn all my mountains into a road,
and my highways shall be raised up.
12 Lo, these shall come from far away,
and lo, these from the north and from the west,
and these from the land of Syene.[c]
13 Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
and will have compassion on his suffering ones.
14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
my Lord has forgotten me.”
15 Can a woman forget her nursing child,
or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;
As God has promised, he comes with good things. Let the LORD enter. He is the King of Glory!