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 listen to this story we should stop and spare a thought about how Mary felt when she got the news that she was to have a child who was the Son of God. Luke tells us that, ” she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” In that uneasy world of Galilee, a place of conflict and struggle, Mary’s personal response showed confusion and doubt and that was why the angel reassured her. 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 the Son of God. Mary’s child would be “great”. He would be Son of the “Most High” a title for the greatest God, the highest concept of divinity one could have at that time. Mary made room for God in her life do we make room for God amongst the general hustle and bustle of life and living not forgetting the Christmas preparations that are part and parcel of this time of year.
Mary and the saints are more like us than the arts or literature about them tell us or we might like to think. They are amazingly human that is like you and me and it is among us, in all our human limitations, that God wants to dwell – among people who despite struggle and doubt, say “Yes” to him. Scripture suggests God wants to enter more fully into our lives; our not-so-neat and orderly lives but our messy untidy lives with all the good and bad and happy and sad times that are part and parcel of our lives. Mary accepted, and proclaimed, God’s will in her life. She placed her future completely in the hands of the Father and we are called to do exactly the same. Her example should be our inspiration to stand firm as Catholics in today’s world of ever-changing fads and fancies especially as we face up to the secular razzmatazz that we see in the run up to Christmas. Remember, the words of Mary when she said ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ May we accept the word of God and try to put it into action in our lives this Christmas Time.