Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Reflection based on Luke 1: 26-38

God's Love for What Is Human

The magnificent and earth-shattering encounter that is the Annunciation begins with a rather humble verse. God sends "the angel Gabriel... to a town ... called Nazareth." The angel travels to a particular place where human beings have established a town. Once there, the angel has to interact with human emotions and questions.

Mary is frightened at the angel's greeting, and so he reassures her that he is good. Mary wonders how a baby might be conceived without a husband, and the angel patiently explains. We see from the beginning of the New Testament God's willingness to interact directly with human categories such as location, emotion, and the human body. In every case, God's intervention "opens up" something new and true about this world but does not contradict the world

The angel doesn't tell Mary her fears are silly. God doesn't bypass Mary's body to bring a flesh and blood Jesus into the world. Mary doesn't receive the message of the Annunciation outside of space and time. Rather, God shows love and respect for the human world he has made, and at the same time he reveals it to us with greater clarity: human procreation is a stunning gift; our towns and homes are places where God lives too; and human beings, with God's grace, are capable of doing amazing, even unprecedented things.

Helen Alvare


Almighty Father, thank you for reminding me that you have always loved the world I must call home.

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