Spiritual readings for Sunday 24th of December
18 December 2017 CGI news
Week of 18th December (reference: readings for Sunday 24th December)
4th Sunday of Advent - Readings: Rm 16, 25-27; Luke 1: 26-38
"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
When I read the Gospel of the Annunciation (Luke’s text for this week), I always wonder what would I do if, suddenly, an angel appeared to my daughter, or a young friend, saying things like "Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you".
Obviously, Mary "was troubled with these words and began to think about the possible meaning of this greeting." I think that I would not listen to her and think that my daughter, or the young friend, was suffering some kind of madness. I think that a normal person would react in that way.
Let us imagine if the angel continued saying "have no fear, you have found favour with God". Obviously she would be afraid! Mary was indeed afraid, but, little by little, with her simplicity and youth, she pondered what she had heard.
But the worst was yet to come... the angel tells her that her life would be transformed forever: "And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end". Now madness seems indeed complete. Mary was a teenager and the angel tells her that she would have a son without "knowing" any man and the son would be a King greater than any king. If this happened, all her dreams of having a normal marriage would be destroyed. People would not look at her in the same way: she would be discriminated against. The angel concludes by saying that her conception would be made by "the Holy Spirit who would come upon her, bringing the power of the Most High" and that her son would be called "Saint, Son of God".
So that Mary could believe truly, the angel gives her a physical signal, easy to verify. It was very hard to believe and something visible to Mary was needed. He informs her that Elizabeth, her relative, also conceived a son, but under impossible human conditions, since she was infertile. Before the words and signs, Mary had only a response. She would not say ‘no’ to the angel; she would not think of her dreams of youth. Her answer was a total commitment to the plan of God: "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word!"
How many times God communicates with us, asking us to convert, to change our life! How many times the messages seem to be crazy: not to take revenge on an offense, to pray for those who do us wrong, to trust that ultimately God will manifest, not to be afraid of the challenges of the Vincentian evangelization? All this seems crazy, but God is warning us. He continues asking us in the strangest ways: through angels put on our way, through the poor that we serve, through the priests who speak to us in homilies, through the texts that we read, or even through the suffering that we are imposed which is very different from the dreams that we had for our journey.
In which way do we answer today to these "crazy messages"? What kind of answers will we have in the future? Our answers can be much closer to Mary who went through the same experience and said 'yes' to God's plan. In our prayers, let us ask Mary to show us the way when she said "yes", when she had no fear of taking the risk of changing, when she reacted positively to a message of conversion, holiness and total surrender to her Son.