December 18, 2011 — Fourth Sunday of Advent
2Sm. 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Ps. 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29; Rom. 16:25-27; Lk. 1:26-38
In today’s Gospel, Mary finds out she will conceive Jesus. Christmas is right around the corner, but, much like Mary in today’s Gospel, we are still in waiting.
A young Jewish girl, Mary would have been very familiar with the expectant hope for a Messiah. So, you can imagine how flustered, fearful, and even a bit confused she might have been when the angel Gabriel appeared to her, announcing that she had been chosen to bear the long-awaited Savior.
Mary exclaimed, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
There is so much we can learn from Mary’s response. She recognized her life was not truly her own. She surrendered to God’s will. What a powerful witness of the amazing things God can accomplish through us as stewards, when we give ourselves to Him in service, when we surrender our lives to Him.
Because of Mary’s “yes” to God, the Lord will continue the good work He begun in her. The reading from 2 Samuel today communicates this same message. The Lord has done great things for King David – protecting him from his enemies, and more, and, when David sets out to build a temple for the Ark of the Covenant, the Lord reminds him that He is source of all good things, He is the giver of all good gifts, and He promises to care for His people.
Much like David and Mary, we all play a role in Salvation History. We are God’s instruments, His disciples through whom many will come to know Him. He has given us so many good gifts, and it is our responsibility, as stewards, to make a free-will decision, much like Mary did, and allow Him to work through us, to use the gifts He has given us to show forth His glory, living lives that bear witness to His goodness.