FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Second Samuel 7: 1-11, 16
David has supplanted Saul as king of both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern, Judah. He has captured Jerusalem, an independent city between the two Jewish states, worked out a peace with its inhabitants, and made it his capital. He has built a fortress and a palace for himself, and brought the Ark into the city. He has yet to begin building a temple. The Lord speaks to David through the prophet Nathan, allaying David’s doubts and promising that his kingdom and his “house” (his family, his descendants) “will be made sure forever.” As you know, this did not happen as Nathan prophesized. But Christians, or some of them anyway, think the prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus, who, being of David’s city of Bethlehem, was a descendant of David.
Romans 16: 25-27
Romans is the longest of Paul’s letters. It is written to the Christians of Roman, probably the Christian colony founded by Peter, whom he intends to visit. Most New Testament historians regard Romans as Paul’s most full and most balanced statement of his theology. Yet our Bishops have seen fit to assign as our lesson the doxology that concludes the letter, the one part of Romans that almost every scholar thinks was not written by Paul.
©Arthur H. Cash