The WORD in Other Words by Fr Bobi Scholz SVD (Holland) for 4th Sunday of Advent
Once I saw this advertisement: “Enter the magic world of great movies.” But to enter the magic world of movies by computer or internet one needs a code, a password. For many, Christmas is a magic world of goodness and peace. Actually Christmas is God‘s wonderful world. Here, too, we need a password. Fortunately, today God gives us two passwords. These are: Emmanuel and Jesus. What can they do for us?
The first password: Emmanuel. The readings mention difficult situations, where people feel hopeless and left alone, namely Israel under King Acaz and all people everywhere. God offers hope; things will change for the better. He gives a sign or proof. “A young woman shall give birth to a child,” through whom God will change the miserable situation. His name would be Emmanuel, meaning “God is with us.” This is above all true of Jesus of Nazareth. He is “God is with us” most fully, because he is both true God and true man. The password “Emmanuel” assures us of this truth. And if God is with us and for us, who can be against us? No longer hopeless or left alone!
The second password: Jesus. Even before the name Emmanuel is mentioned. Joseph is told, “You shall call him Jesus.” Jesus is the second password to God‘s magic world. Jesus means “God saves.” Jesus “saves people from their sins.” Sin makes people enemies of each other through envy, lies, etc. It makes them miserable through drugs, alcohol, sex slavery, etc. “Sin diminishes man.” What a blessing to be freed from sin. In God‘s magic world our dignity and happiness are restored. The password “Jesus ” gives us access to this.
4. The popular song “Give love on Christmas Day” seems to suggest that Christmas is a feast of love. But Christmas is, first of all, a feast of faith. Only faith such as Joseph and Mary had, gives us the passwords “Emmanuel” and “Jesus” and, thus access to God‘s wonderful world.
Christmas does not just make us forget loneliness, quarrel, and wickedness for one day. Christmas is a push from God enabling us to create and maintain the wonderful Christmas world. God tells us: Say “Emmanuel,” and know “I am with you.” Say “Jesus” and you will be “a better person.” With Jesus, our Emmanuel, we fight the war against evil, including drugs, not by killing the guilty, but by uplifting them. With him we create relationships of respect and solidarity which bring peace. Let‘s say YES like Joseph and be part of God‘s magic world of goodness and peace.