1184 Bishop St, Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 585-3300 Fax: (808) 545-5063
Roman Catholics

Roman Catholic Church in the state of hawaii

Diocese of Honolulu

Witness to Jesus

News & Events

News & Events

Help me find...

News Articles

Bishop's Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 24, 2023

[St. George Church, Waimanalo; St. Joseph Church, Waipahu (with Adult Confirmations)]

Promises, promises!

We can become very cynical when someone makes promises but never fulfills them.  We are disappointed when family members do this, critical when politicians do it, and scandalized even when religious leaders make promises they do not seem to keep.  But is God always true to his promises?  Some would say he is not, but we are here to say that he is always true to his promises, even if we do not see their fulfillment right away.

God made a promise to David.  The great King David wanted to build a house, a temple, to glorify God for the many wonderful deeds he had done for Israel.  But God turned the tables and promised that instead he would build a house for David, a dynasty that would last forever, so that until the end of time a descendant of the House of David would rule over Israel.  And David had a long line of successors rule over Israel after him, until the people turned so far away from God that they became weak and were overcome by the Babylonians, who destroyed their land and dethroned their king.  They never had a king since then.  Did God break his promise?

Then, a thousand years after David, the Angel Gabriel brought the news to a simple young girl in the backwater town of Nazareth, the news that she had been selected to be the Mother of the Son of God.  She was betrothed to Joseph, who was of the House of David, but she conceived a child, not through a union with Joseph but by the power of the Holy Spirit.  She became the living Temple of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, who overshadowed her and, with her consent, impregnated her with the one who would sit on the throne of David forever.  The promise, at last was to be fulfilled!

But here we are two thousand years after the fulfillment of that promise in the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us.  Even though the Prince of Peace has already come, we still have wars in the very place of Jesus birth, in Myanmar, Sudan, and Ukraine.  Even though the Savior of the Nations has already come, there are tensions among many nations of the world.  Even though the Truth has already come, there are still those who cling to falsehood, because it seems to serve one better.  Even though the Bread of Life has already come to give us eternal life, how many still do not know the riches that can be received in this wonderful sacrament of the Eucharist, or simply do not care.  We seem to be on the same trajectory as the people of ancient Israel, who rejoiced in King David and his fidelity to the true and living God, but who gradually went their own way, worshiping false gods, leading to the disintegration of society.

We can become cynical that there are still homeless and hungry people among us; still conflicts in families and among nations; still self-worship rather than worship of God.  But God’s promises never fail, though they may, in our eyes, be maddeningly delayed.  The virgin who opened herself to the Holy Spirit was the key that opened the door to light and truth.  And so it is today.  We who are members of the Church, filled with the Holy Spirit in our Baptism and Confirmation, are chosen to bring hope to a world that has become very cynical and even depressed.  We know that, no matter how badly things may seem, God is with us, to heal us, to motivate us to do his work, and to empower us by the Holy Spirit to make his everlasting kingdom a reality in our world.  It may seem crazy to the rest of the world that we sing and rejoice when there is still so much suffering in the world.  But we do so because we have learned from our Savior that by embracing that suffering, God will give us life, and there will be reason to sing and dance and rejoice.  This is our duty and our salvation, and our greatest joy, to proclaim that Jesus Christ is our King forever and ever.