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Sunday, December 18, 2011

4th Sunday of Advent - Behold

4th Sunday of Advent 

Today, the fourth Sunday of Advent our gospel from Luke focuses on Mary’s vocation, and her yes ”may it be done to me”, which ultimately brings the Light of Jesus into our world. This is the story of the Annunciation which fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son; and his name will be called Emmanuel."

“The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”

And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God. Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:26-38)

On this final Sunday of Advent let us take the opportunity to look at our own life situation and ask ourselves, what is God asking of us? Mary was taken by surprise at the angel Gabriel’s request. She probably had other plans. Though it was clearly dangerous and difficult for Mary to say yes to God, thankfully (for us) she chose to be the handmaid of our Lord.

God is full of surprises, and He only wants the best for each of us. Though some of His surprises may look more like obstacles or inconveniences, I pray just for today to have but one fraction of the faith and trust in God’s word as Mary. I pray for the grace to listen and hear God’s whisper as He calls me by name. What is he calling me to do? Where is he asking me to serve? What is he asking me to change? Sure I have other things to do, but just for today may I listen and take to heart God’s request. “For nothing will be impossible for God.”

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."

Annunciation - Leonardo da Vinci
Annunciation - Filippino Lippi
Annunciation - Fra Angelico
Annunciation - El Greco

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