Here we enter a new stage of Advent: having spent so much time on the Second Coming, now we look back, to remember the details of the Lord’s First Coming. Today we focus on the character of Mary, and hear of the angel Gabriel being sent to her, to invite her to take her part in the mystery of the Incarnation, “the revelation of the mystery kept secret for endless ages”. This mystery springs from the House of David, and so we lead into the Gospel by hearing of the establishing of that house. An interesting idea is that the first reading talks of David wishing to build a house for the Lord; through the prophet he is told not of the house that he would build, but the House which is his line: eventually, in Mary (betrothed to Joseph) the House of David does itself become the house of the Lord, the womb wherein he has a dwelling place.
The central point of the reading today is the establishing of the House of David. This is a prologue to the Gospel, pointing out the fact that it was God who established David’s line, from which would come the promised Messiah. In a way the whole reading hinges on a play on words: David wants to build a house for God: God refuses this, but says instead He will build a House (line, family) for David, and that this line will last forever. It’s easy to look forward to the story of the Nativity and see in that the conclusion to this story. The tone of this reading is very positive - it is a promise for David. The feeling of looking towards the future will be very easy for the reader to convey, especially in the sentences from “The Lord will make you great” onwards. Special emphasis should be saved for the last line: “...your throne shall be established forever.”
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