4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT 2014
This weekend we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent and we hear the story of the Angel Gabriel coming to tell Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus. But as we hear this story we should stop and step aside from all the ongoing activities of this time of year to think about how Mary felt when she got this news that she was to have a child. Luke tells , ” she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” The angel has to reassure her, “Do not fear Mary.” – she must have been afraid. In that uneasy world of Galilee, a place of conflict and struggle, Mary’s personal response showed confusion and doubt. Still, Mary did not get a roadmap of the future – neither do we. All her questions weren’t answered – nor are ours. Gabriel announced the conception and birth of royalty. Mary’s child would be “great” (as unique and history changing, like Alexander the “Great”). He would be Son of the “Most High” (a title for the greatest God, the highest concept of divinity one could have. As we discussed last week, the title “Son of” indicated a unique, intimate relationship with this highest God and a sharing in this God’s power). He would have the Davidic throne of Israel forever. [1:32]
Mary made room for God in her life. She and the saints are more like us than the arts or literature about them show. They are amazingly human that is like you and me and it is among them, in all their human limitations, that God wants to dwell – among people who despite struggle and doubt, can say “Yes” to God. Scripture suggests God wants to enter more fully into our lives; our not-so-neat and orderly lives but our messy lives with all the good and bad and all the happy and sad times that are part and parcel of our lives. Mary accepted, even proclaimed, God’s will in her life. She placed her future in the hands of the Father so should we. Her example should inspire us to stand firm as Christians in today’s ever-changing fads and fancies and especially as we face up to the secular razzmatazz in the run up to Christmas. Remember, the words of others may sting, but the Spirit of God burns within. The divine fire can withstand the darts others fling toward us.