2017-12-24, 4th Advent B, The Reality of it All, Mary’s Fiat

Homily 12-24-17
4th Sunday Advent, Cycle B
2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Ps 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29; Rom 16:25-27; Lk 1:26-38

(Scriptures included after homily)

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If we were to put labels on people, (and personally, I never really liked labels).  But, just for the sake of argument, if we were to label the Blessed Virgin Mary or King David, the way that we label other Saints today, we would probably not call them “mystics,” as we might with people like, say, Joseph, Mary’s husband; with his visions and his dreams.

Joseph truly believed in signs.  And when Joseph saw or heard a sign from God, there were no questions asked!  “Put up the house for sale, we’re moving to Egypt, tonight!”

Mary and David, on the other hand, were realists.  They were rationalists, who, in today’s world would have made great scientists and investigators.

For you see, when ‘rational’ David felt a little uncomfortable lounging around in his palace, while poor old God had to sleep on the hard, cold, dirt floor of a tent, he figured, that he’d DO something quite noble, quite honorable FOR God, like building Him a palace of his own. . . .

A totally rational conclusion.
But, just not – very spiritual!

Especially since it was God who created everything that made David who he was.

And when Mary encountered an angel, who told her that she was full of the Grace of the Lord, it baffled her enough, that she pondered what that greeting really meant.

Couldn’t you just picture it:  Oy vey” (“Oy vavoy!” – Hebrew, or “Oh no!” – English)!  “Is this another one of those telemarketers, buttering me up for some sales pitch?”

 And she was terrified!

And then to make him even more sketchy, he tells her that she’s going to have a baby!

So, rationalist Mary – gives him the ultimate stand-off! “Wait a minute there!  I know where babies come from.  And somebody here is not working with a full deck!”  “You know, it takes A and B to equal C.  And we’re missing a very important B here!”  (Hello!)

You see, both David and Mary were fully reliant on their Physical understanding of the rational world.  And TO that world, their God was addedinto the picture.  Sure they heard all that stuff about splitting open the seas and raining down food from heaven.  But that was all so very far off, in the dark and distant past.

And even though it was all like a wonderful and beautiful fairy tale, deep down inside, they may have still wondered what any of it had to do with Real Life.

You see, “Real Life” is Christmas trees and extension cords.  Real life is presents and, well, Santa Claus.  Real life is unemployment, and overdue bills, and broken-down cars, and sick kids.  And if God can’t fix them, then just how does He expect a baby to come out of thin air?

Except . . .

Except,,,   What IF?

What if that 100-year old cousin of yours really is pregnant?  What if, instead of concentrating on the impossible and the physically rational, you thought back to all of those mini-miracles in your own life? . . .

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Like, remember the time you put your finger in that electric socket and DIDN’T die!

Remember the time you fell through the ice on the lake – when no-one else was there to help – and you LIVED to tell the embarrassing story of why your pant legs were all so wet.

Remember the time when your car did four – 360’s on a slick highway, in heavy traffic, and you wound up stopped, and facing in the right direction, on the shoulder, without a scratch (except maybe to your ego)!

Remember the cancer that mystically disappeared!

Do you really think – that they were all rational, happenstance?
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You see, brothers and sisters, something about the Elizabeth pregnancy; something about all those inexplicable, battle victories kicked over a transformation in the lives of Mary and David.  And all of a sudden, their God of the textbooks and the fairy tales; their one-hour God on Sunday mornings, who didn’t even merit our presence through to the end of the Mass,

THAT God – suddenly became:
– Someone totally Personal,
– Someone scintillatingly Spiritual,
– Someone remarkably Real.

And in the process, two investigator-scientists, suddenly became: a Philosophical Psalmist and a Spiritual Mystic.

And when that Personal, Spiritual and very Real God asks you to embark on the physically irrational:

– to be the ancestor of an Eternal Kingdom,

– to be the very Mother of God Himself,

there truly could BE no other response than to bow down in humble thanksgiving that you even merited to be spoken TO by God Almighty Himself!

And yet, like Mary and David, WE too are beyond merit in God’s eyes, brothers and sisters!  We are beyond the rational concept of: “If you love me, then I’ll love you back.”

You see, Our God loves us, NO Matter What we say or do!

And once we recognize the immensity of that Love, all the rationality of our world will become utter silliness!

You see, God doesn’t need a palace to live in.  He’s already living in the most magnificent palace that was ever created: Your Hearts!  And whether – you and He are in here (Church), or out there (in the world), together, as His Mystical Body, we are Called to shine that Light of Christ’s Mystical Love to transform the silliness of the rational world into the JOY of God’s Spiritual Reality.

King David did it, the Blessed Virgin Mary did it, Jesus, our Lord and Savior, did it, and now – it’s our turn!

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Let the Wonder of this Christmas truly transform you, brothers and sisters!  And may you all enjoy a very Blessed and Spiritually Enlightening Christmas Season this year, because this Child Jesus truly IS – God’s greatest Gift – to all of us!

 jmp 12-24-17

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Scripture Readings for the Mass of 12-24-17
Fourth Sunday of Advent, B

First Reading: 2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16

When King David was settled in his palace, and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God dwells in a tent!”  Nathan answered the king, “Go, do whatever you have in mind, for the LORD is with you.”

But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said: “Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Should you build me a house to dwell in?’  “It was I who took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went, and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.

And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth. I will fix a place for my people Israel; I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place without further disturbance. Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old, since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel. I will give you rest from all your enemies.

The LORD also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you. And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm.

I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.”

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29

R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

The promises of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness. For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

“I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations.”

R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior.’ Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him, and my covenant with him stands firm.”

R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2: Rom 16:25-27

Brothers and sisters: To him who can strengthen you, according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages but now manifested through the prophetic writings and, according to the command of the eternal God, made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith, to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel:  Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.

And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”  But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”

And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.  And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”  Then the angel departed from her.

 

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