Late Advent Weekday — December 20
Isaiah 7:10-14 + Luke 1:26-38
December 20, 2016
“‘May it be done to me according to your word.’”
Of all the contrasts between Zechariah and Mary in St. Luke’s infancy narratives, the starkest is found in their responses to the good news announced to each. What makes Mary’s response to St. Gabriel even more striking is that objectively, the message entrusted to her was much more difficult to understand from an “earthly perspective”. After all, what Gabriel announced to Zechariah was news which he and his wife had been longing to hear for many years. While the facts foretold by Gabriel were unlikely from a human standpoint, they were not impossible even by human standards, and had precedent in biblical history.
Mary is unique. Her response to the Good News is possible only through faith. Zechariah did not even have faith in a human possibility. Yet Mary has faith in a seeming human impossibility. She trusts that God will accomplish what He wills, and speaks only of what He wills. How different are you and I: we speak not only of what we will, but also of what we desire and dream about, what piques our interest even momentarily, and even what would harm us. Worse yet is what we so often do, which in facts harms us spiritually, bodily, emotionally and in other ways: in fact, “personally”, in its fullest sense.
Mary is a person as God created human persons to be. Jesus is a divine person (with a human nature), but Mary is like you and me in that she’s a human person. But she lives up to, and shows us what it truly means, to live as a person, which means fully to relate to others, and to the Other who created and redeemed us in His Son. Mary accepts God as her Creator and Savior, and lives for Him rather than for herself.