Advent 2014

Fourth Sunday in Advent - December 21st

2Sm 7: 1-5, 8-11, 16 / Ps 89: 2-5, 27, 29 /
Rm 16: 25-27  / Lk 1: 26-38

In today's scripture the angel Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her that she will conceive and bear a son, Jesus.  Within this single scripture, we have the basis of how our faith is bound to God.  Gabriel comes to an ordinary young peasant girl, in a nondescript region of Galilee, and informs her that she will bring forth into the world, the son of God.  Mary, perhaps a young teenager, engaged to Joseph, does not understand how this is possible.  Gabriel tells her that she has found favor with God and he has entrusted her with this fateful burden.  Thus, in this wonderful exchange between Mary and the angel Gabriel we can see the expression of God's pure and simple gift to Mary, and through that gift, His charge to all of us.  This scripture tells us that things are not meant to be easy, and God does not ask easy things of us.  And clearly during this season of Advent, this exchange between Gabriel and Mary defines our obligation of service to each other.

When Mary asks how it is possible that she will give birth, Gabriel tells her that nothing is impossible for God.  What a remarkable attitude Mary had as she accepted this burden.  She was willing to follow the Lord no matter how difficult the situation might be; and that is the lesson that we need to apply to our lives during this holy season.  Mary's final response in today's scripture conveys the faith of a young mother and chosen one of God, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."

Frank Galgano
Geography and the Environment