“Mystery, ” he gibed. “That’s a good Catholic word.”
My friend was a fundamentalist who had more than a bit of antipathy towards the Catholic Church, charging that it added to the simple faith of the Bible.
But he didn’t read his bible very well. The message “mystery” is a Catholic word only because it is a biblical statement. Paul speaks of the riddle hidden for countless senilities but now showed( Romans 16:25 -2 6 ).
Mystery symbolizes something very specific in this context. It’s not exactly about a thrilling romance with a astonish resolving, but it’s actually close. Mystery is about a propose that God is working through the course of everyday human occurrences. People fallen in love and getting married. Kids being born, growing up and themselves having girls. One society strife against another.
All these things you can see. But there is a hidden purpose of God that is being accomplished underneath it all and through it all. This you can’t fairly ascertain. And most importantly, you can’t quite determine where it is all going. The focus of the Season of Advent is to contemplate the unfolding of the mystery, and to marvel on how all the weaves of salvation record converge on a single person born in Bethlehem.
For a long while Israel had no king but God. Then, humbled by defeat at the paws of the Philistines, they cried out for a warrior king. They got a bad one in Saul. But then came David, a mortal after God’s own middle. He danced before the Ark of the Covenant, murdered Goliath, and constructed Israel into an empire. But he was not allowed to build God a room. Instead, God promised to build him a house, which is to say, a house. This dynasty was to have no end, in fact( 2 Sam. 7:8 -1 6 ).
Centuries last-minute, it appeared that God’s promise had disappointed. The last Davidic king was dragged off to captivity in Babylon and the throne was vacant for 500 years.
Just when hope seemed to be lost, the Angel Gabriel was sending them to a Virgin betrothed to a boy mentioned Joseph, of the very tribe of David( Luke 1:26 -3 8). She is given scandalizing news-she is to become the mother of the messiah, which to any Jew of the time meant the anointed king of Judah, the heir of David. To be called “Son of the Most High” was nothing new for the Davidic King. This was one of his traditional entitlements. But Gabriel says that his reign will be without end. Now this is not traditional-kings, like everyone else, die. How could he settle forever and ever?
But that question paled in comparison with the one that burned in Mary’s heart and reached its way out of her mouth: how can this be since I’ve never been intimate with a human?
Gabriel’s response to this question was even more difficult to believe than what he’d previously said. It seems that this child would be brought into this world without the help of a biological father. Mary would see by the power of the Holy Spirit so that the deed “Son of God” traditionally given to the king of Judah would take over an entirely new meaning.
So THIS is what God had been up to all along. THIS had been what all the patriarchs, prophets, and rulers had been preparing for. The riddle begins to a climax.
The title “Emmanuel, ” God-with-us, that had been given to an earlier king, is going to take on an unheard-of meaning. God was about to be born in human chassis. He was coming as king to do what emperors had always done in Israel-save God’s beings by licking their foes. But the mortal foe to be beaten was mortality itself. This is how he would predominate forever-and how we’d be able to reign forever with him.
That final battle and ultimate victory would have to wait a few years though. The lumber of the cross must be preceded by the wood of the manger. In the Mystery of God’s plan of redemption, all, including the advent of the savior, must happen in its proper time.
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