December 18, 2020
The Fourth Sunday of Advent Reflection by Annabel Quinn - Apostle of the Resurrection
1st Reading: 2 Samuel 7.1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16 2nd Reading: Romans 16.25-27 Gospel: Luke 1.26-38
The Birth of Jesus Foretold Luke 1.26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”[a] 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”[b] 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[c] will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Comfortably resorting to The Ignatian Way I put myself into the Gospel story……
Can you just imagine an angel showing up to call you God’s favoured one?
Greetings, favored one!
Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
How absolutely humbling for Mary to be given this news. Just think about all she quietly processed after Gabriel had departed, imagining her life with the sweet babe in her arms. And knowing that her baby would belong to the world.
And pure fear knowing the massive role her soon to be newborn babe will have to bear.
As so Mary actively waited in joyful anticipation of the arrival of her child. There was a lot to prepare and unlike many of us who also waited anxiously for the arrival of our firstborn, Mary had to travel with her husband to Bethlehem. No doubt that added some stress to the waiting. She knew Jesus was to arrive in due time, yet I believe she longed to meet him, hold him against her heart, embracing the special and short time He would be hers alone. She loved Him before she even met Him.
This is Christmas to me, and this must be Heaven. This long, active awaiting of the arrival of our Savour is finally here. It is so euphoric that it is completely silent and at the same time jubilant harmonic.
Mary…the mother of Jesus…the Son of God.
No where in Mary’s processing do we read she is proud, nor entitled but rather she gives all her absolute joy back to her God in the Magnificat. Mary is praising God for bestowing upon her the title of favoured one!
My soul gives glory to the Lord, rejoicing in my saving God,
Who looks upon me in my state, and all the world will call me blest;
For God works marvels in my sight,
and holy, holy is God's name. (the Magnificat Luke 1.46)
This is true humility; instead of Mary looking upon herself as the favoured one, she praised God for the Grace given to her.
This reflection of Mary has even more significance to this writer as her mother died on Christmas Day, two years ago. The grief was palpable yet I felt an overwhelming sense of peace (albeit I wasn’t aware that is what peace felt like). As the baby of a large family, without a doubt I knew my mother was in the arms of her Mother…and of the arms of Mary, mother to all. My mother had gone home.
In the end, Mary responded to her innate call to motherhood not only by embracing her own child, but most importantly by enfolding the entire human race underneath her loving care. She is the prime example of motherhood and is the one to look to for inspiration as to what it means to be a mother.
Quesons for Reflection
1. Listen to this song……… Hail Mary.mp3 (courtesy of Abbey, gr 12 student at St. David).
Who is Mary to you? Can you imagine her being “just a mom” to Jesus? Is she your spiritual mother?
2. Watch this video based on the Magnificat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzIrq61Ds9M
What comes to mind when you see the photo during the song?Is Mary and our God in the picture?
3. If you could know ahead of time that your child was going to suffer as an adult how would you respond to this knowledge? Could you let him suffer?
4. During this advent season what does active waiting mean to you?