for Sunday, December 21, 2014
It is God who reaches out to us! It is God who wants to save us and offers us salvation. So often we think about what we can do for God without reflecting on his infinite and tender love for us. The first reading today, from the Second Book of Samuel, tells us about King David wanting to build a temple for the Lord. Instead, the Lord reminds King David that He, the Lord, is the one who has done everything and who will keep the House of David forever.
This is not pride on the part of God! Rather, it is God reminding us that He comes to save us. All of our actions are in response to His love and His compassion.
The second reading, from the Letter to the Romans, tells us again that everything that happens is a mystery and part of God's love for us from the beginning of time. The purpose is to bring about an obedience of faith. In our times, the word obedience is not very popular and sounds to many to be a form of subservience. Yet in the plan of God, obedience is a faithful listening to the Lord and a willingness to do things His way. Instead of creating subservience, it creates a complete freedom in our loves to know His love and to express that love to others.
The Gospel today, from Saint Luke, is the Gospel of the Annunciation. We can only imagine the surprise of the young woman, Mary, when an angel appears to tell her that she will be pregnant! We are so accustomed to this story that it can easily lose its power. Here is a young women, striving to be faithful to the Jewish traditions. Out of nowhere comes an angel, telling her that she will be pregnant and bear the Son of God.
No one in their right mind would easily believe such a thing! On the other hand, we don't know how this annunciation took place. Having an angel appear is not an ordinary occasion, even in the time of Jesus! There are other recorded instances of angels appearing in the Scripture, but they are not numerous over the thousands of years of history.
In some mysterious way, Mary is able to recognize that this angel really is of God and that she can consent to what the angel is asking of her. Perhaps some of us have had experiences in which we that we must do something and that it is God asking us, and yet we cannot explain it fully even to our friends. Perhaps some of us have had supernatural experiences in which we have been convinced of the presence of God. Always, such people must bear with the doubts of others.
The readings today invite us to open our hearts and our minds to the supernatural, to the presence of God, to seek His will and to be willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world for striving to live in union with the God who loves us. The birth of Jesus confirms God's love for us. We await the coming of the Lord.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: 2 Samuel 7.1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Second Reading: Romans 16.25-27
Gospel: Luke 1.26-38
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: