Reflections of the Gospel for the 4th Sunday of Advent -- Luke 1: 26-38
God is a god of surprises! Our Gospel this Sunday reminds us that God works in mysterious ways and chooses unlikely people to do his will. A young girl receives a startling visit from an angel. Gabriel salutes her with a title of honor, Full of Grace, and declares that God has chosen her to be the mother of a son. If that news was not astonishing enough, considering her virginity, this is to be the Son of the Most High God. He will rule over the people in an eternal kingdom. Like every child in Israel, Mary would have about this promise of a messiah that would save God’s people. The angel repeats the promises first made King David, that his house and kingdom will endure forever. God’s people clung to this promise over many centuries, through dark days. They expected a powerful warrior that would put their enemies to flight and restore political glory.
Now, the saving plan of God is proposed to a simple girl. The angel further declares that God will accomplish this by suspending the normal processes of birth, for nothing is impossible for God. But God does not force his will upon her. Her “yes” to God’s work of salvation initiates the whole story of the Church. She is one who hears and does the word of God. She enjoys honor because of her willingness to accept a role in God’s plan for the salvation of humanity. Mary is the epitome of the faithful people of Israel who wait confidently for God’s salvation and the beginning of new life of those who will be disciples of Jesus. God’s grace is lavishly offered to each of us, awaiting our response, our Yes.