Year B: Year of Mark
Fourth Sunday in Advent
Gospel: Luke 1: 26-38
Over the last few weeks, we have had Gospels which have spoken of the one who was to come - but which have stopped short of letting us see Jesus. Today’s Gospel is the same. Again we hear words of promise - that He is coming - but not yet...
The words of the angel Gabriel to Mary are among the best known and most loved in the history of the world. Some Catholics pray them daily in the Angelus. Many of us have heard them spoken by children in Nativity plays. This is often delightful - but we run the risk of losing the power of what this mighty archangel was actually announcing.
If we reflect on the prophecies that we have read over the last few weeks - and the promise of what is to come when Jesus comes again, we can begin to feel something of the significance of what is happening in the Gospel today.
God has seen the plight of His people and has promised that His people will be comforted - that they will be gathered together - that His eternal Jubilee will be established. Naturally, people saw this as the God of might and power coming in glory.
Of all the kings, prophets and holy people who had waited in faithful hope for the glorious coming of the Promised one, God chose to send the angel to a young woman. The message was not proclaimed in a palace nor even the Temple in Jerusalem - but in a backwater called Nazareth.
In this encounter between the human and the divine, we see again God’s capacity to confound human expectations.
The words that the angel announces are rich in power and promise - “You have won God’s favour - He will be the Son of the Most High - He will rule over the House of Jacob and His reign will have no end - the Holy Spirit will come upon you - and the power of the Most High will cover you...”
At this point, God entered His creation - He breathed the air we breathe - drank the water we drink - walked the earth we walk. Everything in earth became sanctified because God became human. God became incarnate in His Son, Jesus Christ - born of Mary. The world would never be the same again.
What does it mean for me?
This Gospel marks a turning point in history - Reflect on the difference this encounter made to the world.
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