Friday, December 20, 2019

Friday of the Third Week of Advent

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

The infancy accounts in the gospels of Matthew and Luke differ significantly.  In Matthew, Joseph receives the announcement of the angel that the savior is to be born.  In Luke, as seen in today’s gospel, it is Mary who is so addressed.  In Matthew, Joseph and Mary live in Bethlehem and go to Nazareth only after Herod’s attempted genocide.  In Luke, they live in Nazareth and go to Bethlehem to register in a census.  There are quite a few other differences, but the two accounts converge at significant points as well.

Both Matthew and Luke describe Mary as a virgin who conceives by the Holy Spirit.  This article is not something that they made up or that one gave to the other.  No, they both received it from an older tradition. It is of great importance to Christian faith as it underscores that Jesus is the Son of God.  Mary gives him a human nature, but he retains his divine nature given from his eternal generation as Son.

“So what?” Some might ask out of ignorance.  The Son of God becoming human – the Incarnation -- gives history a new beginning.  Human beings are no longer destined to return to the earth forever.  Like Jesus, their forbear, they have an eternal destiny beyond the grave.  The result may be compared to the recreation of aviation with the jet engine. Flights on jets are so fast and go so far that few would consider taking a propeller airplane.   Similarly Jesus promises that those who connect with him will conquer sin and death.  “So what?” So we have the fullness of life!