Sunday, December 21, 2008
In My Fair Lady, Audrey Hepburn plays Eliza Doolittle and at one point in the movie she sings, “words! words! I’m sick of words!” We often hear the motto, “talk is cheap.” In this Sunday’s gospel and in the first reading, God does speak. He speaks through Nathan to King David. Then he speaks through the Archangel Gabriel to Mary. As I have mentioned many times before and I again will say it, “Preach the Gospel always and use words if necessary.” God’s word always has meaning and power behind them. God’s words in Hebrew, dabar, is always active and effective, bringing about our salvation. God’s whole plan of salvation is an ongoing annunciation.
In the first reading, God promises to David that his kingdom will last forever. Little did David know what this would entail that the son of God, Jesus Christ would be the successor to David’s throne.
God’s reign will no longer go by possession of land but by “the obedience of faith as we heard in the second reading. This is captured in the fiat of Mary in the gospel, her “yes.” While the saving plan and work belongs to God, a human response is always offered. David and Mary never envisioned what God would have in store for them. David and Mary response was a humble and willing response. They knew it was overwhelming but they knew that God could do great things through them.
If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. We see in the Gospel that by Mary’s “yes” her plans were changed around. Mary had felt called early on to serve God through consecrated virginity, which meant not having children.
This is the reason behind her comment to the angel: "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" That comment would have made no sense if she were planning on leading a normal married life with St Joseph, her fiancée.
Life as a virgin consecrated to God was what she had envisioned for herself and planned for. But then the angel came along and changed those plans. God often does the same thing with us.
Like a good coach, he pushes us out of our comfort zone so that we can reach our full potential as Christians.
There are three ways especially in which God tends to disrupt our plans.
First, when we are really busy and don't' want any interruptions he brings us into contact with someone who needs help.
Second, we suddenly discover that certain popular and fashionable behaviors or activities (which we would like to follow) are actually against Church teaching, that they cause damage to us and to others.
Third, when we are really tired, fed up, or angry, our conscience - like the angel Gabriel in today's Gospel passage - sends us a message saying that we really need to keep working, or to do a little extra work, or to be extra patient with someone, or to hold our tongue.
These are three common ways that God disrupts our personal plans in order to invite us to be partners in his plan of salvation. It’s hard for us to let go and let God but we must realize it will make us better people for it. If we just continue to move in our old habits than how can we really grow in our spiritual lives. For example a toddler who begins to walk puts alot of trust in their parents that will be okay but if that child doesn’t trust their parents then the child will have an extremely difficult time in walking.
During this Mass, let's ask God for the grace to respond generously to those disruptions, as Mary did, especially during the Christmas season, so that our part in God's plan of salvation is sure to get done.