Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 23, 2018

St. John Thorold 2

Mary window, St. John the Evangelist, Thorold

Run Mary, run! Make haste to the place of acceptance and kinship. Even though you are tempted to stay put and “ponder these things” in your heart, do not isolate. Do not keep this spiritual experience—this Divine mystery—a secret. Instead, leave your safe haven, propel yourself across an unknown territory. Reach out in wonder and sadness, delight and confusion, and fall. Fall into the shelter of love. Collapse into the community of another: another woman, another mother, another mighty proclaimer of truth.

LUKE 1:39-45 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” 

MICAH 5:2-5A You, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace. 

From a little, unknown and obscure place, God reveals God’s majestic kingdom. It is a glorious place of restitution, peace, security and abundance. I so deeply yearn for this place.

My prayer to God: Help me not fall into despair about the state of the world.

God’s prayer to me: Come and sit with me for a while.

CANTICLE 18, BAS (LUKE 1:47-55) My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; for he has looked with favour on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel, for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! (Even though some would say that it was an apple that got us into this mess in the first place.) Mary discipled her child to be an outspoken rebel, a socially challenging advocate and a lover of humanity.

“He has scattered the proud in their conceit” or, as the King James Version says, “the imagination of their hearts.” When we live fearfully, greedily or selfishly, we live into a lie about ourselves. We are so much smaller than we think or feel, yet worth so much more than we have or want.

In the silence of this moment I ask God to help me see into the imagination of my heart.

HEBREWS 10:5-10 When Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’ (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).” When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Incarnation. “The God-Man or the Man-God.” God becoming human so that we might become God. Show-stopper, really! The rest? Casuistry if it weren’t for the love….

The love.


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