On this last-place Sunday in Advent, an angel startles a young lady in Nazareth. What was old-time, and what was new in his content to her?
Gospel( Read Lk 1:26 -3 8)
How many times have we heard this Scripture read? If it is very familiar to us, we should clear the effort to hear it now with fresh ears. Perhaps we can do that by trying to imagine what it was like for Mary to have this conversation with Gabriel as it had occurred in history.
First, we need a word about Mary. Pope Benedict XVI formerly described her as a woman seriously steeped with the Word of god in Holy scripture. Reflecting on her Magnificat, he wrote: “Here we see how totally at home Mary is with the Word of god, with what ease she moves in and out of it. She speaks and thinks with the Word of god; the Word of God becomes her oath, and her statement matters from the Word of God”( Deus Caritas Est, 41 ). It is in the interests of us to be considered what the Pope says here about Mary. She knew the Old Testament inside and out! To understand her reaction to the visit from Gabriel, we will need to understand how many Scriptural promises are being fulfilled in this one humble background in Nazareth. None of this would have been lost on Mary, but if we don’t know our Old Testament, it might be lost on us. To bypass that, consider these points 😛 TAGEND
( 1) In Israel’s history, it was the angel, Gabriel, who explained to the prophet, Daniel( about 6th century B.C .), the events that would accompany the Messiah’s coming( view Dan. 9:21 -2 7 ). Gabriel handed Daniel a timetable for the Messiah’s appearance, which worked out to be just about the time he startled Mary with his visit. It was Gabriel who foretold the timing of the Messiah’s coming; it was Gabriel who now gives the letter of His arrival in Jesus.
( 2) Gabriel accosts Mary in an odd nature: “Hail, full of prayer! ” The last-place woman on earth to be “full of grace” was Eve, “the mother of all living”( spoke Gen 3:20 ). No wonder Mary was “greatly troubled…and reflected what kind of responding this might be.” When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the superhuman prayer they received when God initiated them died. From that time on, mankind’s simply hope “wouldve been” the figure of “the woman” and “her seed”( spoke Gen 3:15) through whom God promised to defeat His enemy, the serpent. Mary knew, from Scripture, that a grace-filled woman and son would make all the difference in human history. She examines from Gabriel that she is that woman.
( 3) Gabriel tells Mary that she is to have a son who “will be called Son of the Most High and the LORD God will give him the throne of David his father…and of his country “theres been” no end.” Mary would have recognized this as an nearly word-for-word fulfillment of the requirements of the covenant promises God made to David, king of Israel, about nine centuries earlier( more on this as we reflect on our First Reading ). It had made a very long time, but Gabriel’s message assures Mary that God was now saving those promises.
( 4) Mary is mystified about the “how” of this event, as described by Gabriel. If she had simply been a young woman betrothed to a guy of David’s lineage( as Joseph was ), there is nothing to stump her now. Nonetheless, it appears that Mary had committed her virginity to God and did not intend to have marital relations with Joseph. Early in its own history of Christianity, it was suggested that Mary had indeed swore herself to God at a young age, probably planning to devote herself to prayer at the Temple, like the prophetess Anna in the New Testament( spoke Lk 2:36 -3 8). She would have needed a protection to care for her needs but who was also willing to honor her dedicate of chastity. Joseph was that man. If this was the situation into which Gabriel emerged, Mary’s question fixes perfect smell. It also suggests that up to this moment, Mary had a plan for how she would live out her depth and bizarre life with God. With the angel’s announcement, that design was turned inside out( the listing of Old Testament references for whom this was also true is too long be mentioned ). Hers was to be a physically beneficial virginity.
5) Gabriel explains to Mary that the superpower of the Most High-pitched will “overshadow” her, and she would conceive a Child who would be the holy Son of God. “Overshadow” is exactly the word used in the Greek version of Ex 40:35 to describe how Yahweh “overshadowed” the Tabernacle, constructing it His inhabiting in Israel. This conversation would surely have spawned Mary incredulous. A lad “wouldve been” envisioned in her body by the Holy Spirit? God’s own Son? See that Gabriel predicts her incredulity: “Nothing will be impossible for God.” Being a woman of Scripture, Mary would have been put in mind of Sarah and Hannah by these statements, women of great faith in the Old Testament who also imagined children miraculously. Mary would have known by heart the words of an angel about Sarah’s “impossible” conception, practically 2000 years earlier: “Is anything too hard for the LORD? ”( predicted Gen 18:14)
( 6) Look at Mary’s response: “May it be done to me according to your word.” Here she chooses to submit to God’s plan for her life with Him, causing go of her own. In doing so, she had to embrace the possibility of misunderstanding and even reproached are connected with apparently ending her commitment of chastity. In Eden, Eve listened to the fallen angel’s lie about God, as he made her feel shaky and deluded if she guessed God’s Word. Not craving the dishonor that he hinted comes with dependency on God, she chose to disobey. Mary’s “yes” opened her to a nature of complications! However, when she espoused God’s way over her own, on the spot she became the brand-new Eve–“the woman” whose “seed” would subdue the is chairman of the serpent, once for all.
Think about this amazing scene. How much it fulfills and portends! Yet all of it reminds us of this one great point: God remembers His predicts. What good bulletin to beings like us, who are waiting in Advent to see the Lord, Who has promised to come to us and not leave us orphans. He will not disappoint.
Possible Response: Blessed Mother Mary, pray that I will trust that surrendering to the Father’s will is the whole target of my cosmo this day.
First Reading( Read 2 Sam 7:1 -5, 8b-12, 14 a, 16)
These lyrics describe the moment upon which God made a covenant with David, King of Israel. David was “a man after God’s own nerve, ” as he is described in Scripture. When he took the throne( about 1010 B.C .), he wanted to build a “house, ” or permanent resting place for the Ark of the Covenant. God had other schemes, nonetheless. God wanted to build a “house, ” or dynasty, for David. Remember that when the people of Israel craved for a lord to rule over them, their inclination actually represented a lack of faith. They once had a king–God Himself. The agreement He uttered with them on Mt. Sinai was to be their rule of life, and God agreed to be their shield and guard as long as they were faithful to that covenant.
The parties, nonetheless, insisted on having a king like all the other nations around them. After one mistaken start, with King Saul, God found in David a humanity who loved Him above everything. So, now God realizes outrageous promises to David that would ultimately lead to Him dwelling in flesh and blood in the midst of His people. Israel would indeed have God as their king–in Jesus, a descendant of David. See that these texts describing the king as God’s own Son and His rule as eternal are the ones Gabriel used in his word to Mary. This promise from God about the throne of David hung in Israel’s air for hundreds of years.
On a day in Nazareth, it lastly contacts fulfillment.
Possible response: Heavenly Father, let me never forget Your great desire to live as King among Your beings, the Church. You want to be with us as much as we want to be with You!
Psalm( Read Ps 89:2 -5, 27, 29)
The psalmist now extols both the promises and faithfulness of God, because He is One whose “kindness is established forever” in the covenant He originated with David. It is God Who will “confirm” and “establish” the throne of David “for all generations.” Jesus ascended to that throne at the Ascension. He settles in kindness now and forever. These names were written in anticipation of a monarch who would call God “My Father.” We now live in its reality, and, especially in Advent, we await its realization. As we wait, make the words of the responsorial be our song of praise: “Forever I will sing the goodness of the LORD.”
Possible response: The psalm is, itself, its answer to our other reads. Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.
Second Reading( Read Rom 16:25 -2 7)
These compositions come toward the end of St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans, and they describe something vitally important for us as we wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises. See that St. Paul tells us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being exclaimed now “according to the revelation of the mystery stopped mystery for long ages but now certified through the prophetic writings.” This means that God, from the beginning, always had a surprising plan for His Creation, but “for long ages” it was prevented mystery( like the “secret magic” of Narnia in C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia ). God is happy to discover it very slowly, through the prophetic writings of Holy writ and their eventual realization. God is not afraid of time. Even when millennia pass by, and no one can figure out what He is doing, God is at work moving everything forward to completion. What is the point of all this forward motion? St. Paul tells us that the Gospel is being proclaimed “to all nations” in order to “bring about the observance of faith.” God’s proposal is for us to obey Him because we trust Him( just as it was for Adam and Eve ). He is recognized that reverence that comes from sect is the true generator of our own happiness.
So, today, when we ponder Mary’s act of obedience that comes from her religion in God, we know we are on the brink of immense joyfulnes. When the Son, have committed themselves to her here, eventually recruits another Garden( Gethsemane) and obeys His Father because of His faith, our elation will know no bounds.
For now, nonetheless, we must patiently wait. The Secret is about to be born!
Possible Response: Heavenly Father, I am not a patient person. Please teach me to wait for Your work with joy instead of anxiety or a blank mind .\
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