December 20, 2020
Fourth Sunday of Advent B
Christmas is almost here! And what a year this has been as we count these final days. And what does the Church give to think about in the Gospel during this last week before Christmas on Friday? It presents us with one of the most important moments in history. Mary, a young woman who has been brought up in the Jewish faith, is asked by an angel to do something extraordinary [in fact, the most extraordinary thing any human person will ever do]: She is told that she has been chosen to conceive and bear the Son of God. One of the many interesting elements of this exchange between Mary and the angel is that she is never directly asked, “Do you accept this?” But Mary innately understands that God allows her to be free in her decision and that it is up to her to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. She says ‘yes’, even though she does not completely understand everything that will happen to her; even though she wonders how this can happen to her; even though there has never been a precedent of what this will mean. She says ‘yes’, and the whole world changes forever. What faith she must have had! What deep trust she shows in that she was able to say to the angel, who is God’s messenger: “May it be done to me according to your word”. No, she probably did not understand all the implications of what was going to happen to her…or what the rest of her life was going to be like, or how this child of hers would change the universe. What she did understand is that God is always trustworthy, and that He would be with her throughout her life. She did an amazing thing: Mary said “yes” and brought Jesus into the world to heal, preach the good news and redeem us. Our task as Christian disciples is to bring Jesus into the world also. We look to Mary to see how to do this with faith, trust and purity. She is truly the example for all Christians: she shows us how to say “yes” to God. She is someone to think about as we count down to Christmas after a crazy and difficult year. God bless you and your family this Christmas and throughout the New Year!