Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Advent

As surely as we think of Christmas, thoughts of Santa Claus are soon to follow.  Likewise, when we think of the birth of Jesus, thoughts of Mary come to mind.  Petition the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind, your very soul, to strengthen your understanding of the various implications that this young girl's "fiat" (let it be done unto me) will have in her life and what impacts it has had on your life.  Furthermore let this prayerful reflection on Mary's role open for you an insight into how your baptism and reception of the Holy Eucharist are significant moments in our lives with a Christmas relationship.  These are ultimately the call to respond to God's call for our own "fiat" to his will that we give birth go Jesus in our lives and in our world.

The angel's bidding, "Hail, (you who are) full of grace" must have been both puzzling and frightening to such a young woman.  Surely Mary realized the greeting indicated that she was being specially bless by Yahweh.  When you were baptized (in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit) those words were for you the proclamation that you, too, were being specially graced by God with a singular mission.  When you were first given the Eucharist, the words "The Body of Christ," were yet another proclamation of your being particularly bless by God to give birth to Jesus not only in your body and soul but also to proclaim it to your world.

In the Old Testament writings we encounter "the house of David."  King David understood God's request that he build a house that would dignify God's presence among his people.  King David responded the way most would.  He must have said to himself "I will see to it that a worthy temple is built for the Ark of the Covenant.  This would replace the tent that had been used for many years.  Even in Jesus lifetime there was the on-going construction of the sacred space.  If God himself or an emissary came to you today and asked that a suitable "house" be built for him, surely most would immediately begin thinking of architects, bank loans, real estate agents and so forth.  We humans are the same whether in Old or New Testament days, even in our very modern world.  Yet this was not Yahweh's intention.  His "house" was not to be of wood, stone or massive steel columns.  Rather the words "The Lord will make you a House" are meant to be understood differently.  God wanted lineage for his Son when he would be born on this earth.  Mary was asked to carry on the lineage of the House of King David and his descendants.  This is somewhat similar to the British Empire's House of Windsor.  So Mary's "fiat" resulted in her providing "physical space" within her womb for the Son of God, for a continuation of the House of David.

As you remember Mary during these closing days of the Advent season, let your heart reflect upon God's invitation to you, asking you to provide a dwelling place in your heart and soul for his Son.  Christmas is that time of year when God repeats his invitation to give birth to Jesus in your temple.  We are called again to make the same "Yes" that Mary once made.  We know it is no different.  Like Mary, there will be for challenges to that commitment.  It is easy to say "Yes."  It is much more challenging to live out your "Yeses."  The Eucharist, however,  will be for you the same strength that Mary had within her body as she nurtured the Son of God for his birth, his entrance into a new world.

This week leading to Christmas Day can be an extraordinary time for each of us.  Open your heart!  Fiat!  Fiat!