Advent 4B; Luke 1:26 ff; 12/24/17
I am wondering if we can identify with Mary and Joseph? How can this be? Mary asks Gabriel. Mary doesn’t know what God is doing or what God is about to do? Do we know what God is doing or is about to do?
With Mary, we have a pretty good idea of what God is doing and what God is about to do. Hindsight is helpful. But what about us—might God have a message for us and would we know that God is doing or about to do?
Mary asks a question: How can this be? Mary seeks understanding. Gabriel explains and Mary accepts. Yet there is so much more Mary does not understand. There’s the who, where, what and how that have yet to be understood. There is so much more that we do not understand about what God will do and is doing in our midst.
How can this be? we ask. Sometimes we receive answers. If you’re like me, the answers I receive are mostly by hindsight—that is insight finally comes after the fact and after the action that God has, is and will do outside of my awareness. One of the great challenges in our western culture is to move ahead in faith without full understanding. Our nearsightedness tempts us to limit God to the level of whatever our perceptions are. Big mistake if we fall prey to this.
God is nudging Mary to respond—to move into unknown territory. We first think that the territory has to do with geography, people, places and time. But the territory God is really asking Mary to explore is within her—Mary, come let me live within you God is saying through Gabriel—in more ways than one, in the flesh in the son she will bear, but more so in her heart, which will be the fulcrum upon which Mary’s faithfulness will act in obedience and faith.
So it is with us.
We are each born with an inner restlessness that will not know peace until we are ready to ask our questions—Lord, where do you want me to go—what do you want me to do? These questions though, are premature.
And first like Mary, God will ask us—Come let me live and abide in you.
The ball is in our court.