I WILL BUILD YOU A HOUSE
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16,
Who is building a house for whom? That is the question today, the Fourth Sunday in Advent, when we hear about King David’s plan to build the Lord a house, and then God turning it around and promising David an eternal house and kingdom. This was finally fulfilled about 1000 years later when the Word of God became flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Since this is the last Sunday before Christmas, it is interesting that the liturgy talks about gifts: David wants to give the Lord a gift, but God instead gives him the gift of a promise. And indeed, it is the Lord who gives us the greatest gift at Christmas.
SECOND BOOK OF SAMUEL
King David is living in a house of cedar while the Ark of the Covenant is in a tent. David has the noble inspiration to build the Lord a house. The prophet Nathan initially agrees with David, but that night hears something different from the Lord: “Thus says the Lord: Should you build me a house to dwell in?…The Lord also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you…Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.”
The Responsorial, Psalm 89, is in praise of God’s covenant with David. “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations.”
Today’s gospel is the account of the Annunciation to Mary. The angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is blessed among women. Mary has favor with God. She will conceive and bear a son and name him Jesus. He will be great and the Son of the Most High. The connection with King David occurs in the next verse: “The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end.” In this way, the Lord fulfills the prophecy that Nathan gave to David in the first reading. It is God who builds a house and kingdom for David!
Today’s second reading also makes reference to “the mystery hidden for many ages but now manifest through the writings of the prophets…” The Lord took 1000 years to fulfill his promise to King David. But he did indeed fulfill it in the Incarnation of Jesus. May we take heart that God is always faithful to his covenant and promises. He will never fail us nor forsake us (cf. Heb. 13:5).
GOD IS BUILDING A HOUSE
The “house” prophesied by Nathan is the Davidic dynasty. St. Joseph was a descendant of King David. Bethlehem, the “city of David,” was Joseph’s ancestral home, which is why he, as head of the family, had to return there for the census decreed by Caesar Augustus (cf. Luke 2:1-5). It was there in Bethlehem that Jesus was born, fulfilling the prophecy that a Son of David would inherit the throne of David forever!
Jesus himself was the “house” that God built for David – and for us. By presenting us with these readings on the final Sunday of Advent, we are prepared to go with the shepherds to the city of David to greet the newborn Savior, who is Christ the Lord. O come, let us adore Him!
I wish you and yours the gift of a blessed Christmas! May we all make room in our house for the Lord this year… and may we all find a room in His house for us!