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YES! TO GODíS COMING. A reflection for 4th Sun. of Advent, Year B
By Fr. Modestus Mgbaramuko
Sun, 24 Dec 2017

This 4th Sunday of Advent, we hear a rehearsal of God’s close friends on call for the messiah. David has a visit from Nathan. Mary gets a visit from Gabriel. God, it was who said to the prophet: “Go and tell my servant David: I will establish your house and sovereignty forever”. And God it was who sent the angel Gabriel to announce about Mary’s Christ-Child: “The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David”. From this background, Paul confirms to us that the entire Christmas plan has got far less to do with chance, but has everything to do with providence. In other words, the truth of every Christmas is the celebration of Jesus; and Jesus is believed as God’s mystery which was revealed in time for humanity (Rm 16:25).

A religious truth must be seen with the ‘eyes’ of faith, otherwise we may see and see, but not perceive. But with the eyes of faith, we will begin to cherish, just how deeply profound the memory of our first Christmas is, from the readings presented to us this last Sunday of Advent. David had been Israel's ideal king; and how remarkably, his reign had marked the golden years of Israel's glory. David brought concrete hopes about the undying root of Jesse’s tree, and raised the expectation for the ‘shoot that will spring’ from David’s stump. The link in today’s Gospel thus, becomes self-evident because: Mary was ‘a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David’. The thrill is now all built up.  Indeed, the ‘great tidings of great joy’ to be chanted by the angels, is now conceived, and is soon to be delivered at Christmas.

We know that the paintings of the holy family seen in our times are delightfully fascinating. Mary is dressed in her amazing silk and blue veil. Her golden hair is neatly patterned in style. All her nails are perfectly manicured in their delicate matchings. Mary is even looking outside her window to their beautiful, rose-filled garden; and she has blue eyes! But, that is only a tiny part of the Marian story. It is the scriptures that really tell us how, Mary and Joseph were caught up together in the turbulence and mystery of the first Christmas.

At that threshold, with the actual annunciation of Mary’s pregnancy, we ponder the immensity of that moment when Mary, the humble ‘handmaid of the Lord’, faced Joseph, the ‘just man’ of faith. Each and both were disturbed; and both were challenged by such an unfathomable demand from God. Yet time had come for all two of them to bear witness to the faith which they professed in God. There were thorns in those roses!  At the end of it Mary said, ‘let it be done to me according to your word’. And Joseph did ‘what the angel of the lord had asked him to do’.

We need Mary and Joseph’s intercession for the grace of ardent faith in God. We do need Mary’s revolutionary significance to inform and reform us. We can let the things of our little importance to stay at the background, while the bigger picture of God’s will could shine forth in our lives. Today that we learn afresh, the ‘let it be done to me according to thy word’ of Mary, let our hearts likewise, be more open to the costs of doing God’s will.

Mary therefore, tells our story but in a clearly different way. Maiden, immaculate and ‘full of grace'. Yet, it is first and foremost, about the inner beauty. The beauty of a heart willing to say ‘Yes’ to God.  As we ponder the passage of the ‘angelus’, we must continue to seek the imitation of this ‘so highly favoured one’ who alone could say of the Emmanuel: 'this is from my body, and this is from my blood'. In other words, God in the flesh or the Christ-Child of our Christmas, is the fruit of Mary’s womb!

Given those circumstances as highly disturbing for Mary, and as hardly understandable to Joseph, may we never loose sight of the third player in all of life’s drama. Here, the only certainty comes from the re-assurance on God’s part, namely: ‘the Lord God himself will give...'; and the 'Holy Spirit will come upon...'  if only we learn to give way to God.
This is the way of God, 'who alone is wisdom'; and for whom 'nothing is impossible'.

 

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