Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

(Isaiah 7:10-14; Luke 1:26-38)

In a movie a few years back a teenage girl, growing up dirt poor in the Ozarks, sacrifices the joy of adolescence to hold her family together.  Her father puts their house up as bond when he is arrested. Then he turns up missing. The young girl has to find out what has happened to him if her mother and brothers will have a place to live. She rises to the task.  We should see Mary similarly challenged in today’s gospel.

When the angel Gabriel greets her with the words, “’Hail, full of grace,’” Mary realizes that a crisis is at hand.  Attentive to the angel’s proposition that she will mother the Son of God, Mary asks how it is possible for a virgin.  She accepts the angel’s explanation and gives assent: “’May it be done to me according to your word.’” She shows herself to be a worthy disciple by first reflecting on the word of God and then doing it.

Mary’s assent has echoed throughout history.  We too are faced with the Word of God – Jesus himself.  We respond as his disciples when we carefully consider what he says and act upon it.  In a world that regularly conflicts with Jesus’ values and mores, living the commitment is often difficult.  Gratefully, we too like Mary have been graced to carry it out.