In this Fourth Week of Advent, we are very close to Christmas and to the Birth of the Baby. The Church tries to show us in this time that, on the one hand, Jesus is in continuity with God’s plan in the Old Testament and brings those plans to completion while, on the other hand, Jesus breaks out of all attempts to categorize Him.
St. Paul writes to the Ephesians, trying to describe Christ Jesus: “For [God] has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:9–10). So, while Jesus is the son of David in continuity with the old promises, He is also the Son of God in power through His Resurrection.
In the reading from the prophet Isaiah, we witness the tension not only between the prophet and the king but also within our own experience. There is a confrontation between two contrasting worlds, between two opposing systems of psychological security — that of this world and that of the spiritual realm. The prophet has given an assurance that faith will save, even in a seemingly worldly political crisis. The king, however, like us so often, is reluctant to submit his will to the claims of faith. This is a great temptation in each one of us: to act with foolish autonomy.
In this reading, the prophet announces a sign: A young woman will give birth to a child whose name is Immanuel, “God with us.” Everything changes when God is with us. You can feel this in a small way if you have an opportunity to savor beautiful scenery or an environment that makes a special impact on you.