4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT - B
This fourth Sunday of Advent, we turn our gaze to Mary, the ultimate guide to the Mystery of the Incarnation.
Following the Fall of Man in the Old Testament, God promised a Messiah through a woman (Gen 3:15). If a woman was the reason of the Fall then it would be through another woman that humanity would be saved. It took thousands of years for God to carry out his plan and to create that woman who would be the instrument for salvation. In the language of St. Paul, the Messiah was born in the fullness of time through a woman (Gal 4:4). This woman is Mary.
In the Annunciation we contemplate first on the “obedience a priori” (the first obedience) of the Word to the Father who willed that his Son should become man! We see here both the self-giving (Kenosis) of both the Father and the Son: the Father who, out of love, gave away his Son and the Son who, out of obedience, said his yes to the Father. We also meditate on the Holy Spirit who was the instrument in the realisation of this eternal gift-giving. Secondly, the faithfulness of God who in his graciousness fulfilled his promise of old. Thirdly, we also see God’s humility by asking a woman, his mere creature a favor. Out of God’s deep respect for freedom of the will, he asked Mary: “Would you be my instrument so that I can become a man?” It was that very moment when heaven and earth stood still and almost hanged in a balance when God awaited for Mary’s response… a moment in history God had been awaiting for. In all her humility, Mary said her Fiat, an abandoning and wholehearted YES: “May it be done according to your word”! And that very instant, the Word became flesh. This glorious spark in history was made possible through the meeting of the faithfulness and humility of God and Mary.
What is Mary’s Annunciation to us today? Just like the Israelites who waited for the coming of their Messiah, we have been waiting and longing for the coming of Jesus. How open are we to cooperate in the Incarnation of God in the present time? Just as God needed the cooperation of Mary for Jesus to be born, he wants our participation in the eternal birthing of the divine in us. He wants our personal yes!
The Word which the world cannot hold was contained in the humble womb of Mary. It was made possible because God prepared Mary who, in her unconditional obedience, emptied herself totally without reserve and provided a sacred space to contain the immensity of God’s presence. This is the fullness of Mary! Such fullness which was designed by God because she was the only one who could reverse the empty disobedience of the first Eve; she would be the New Ark of the Covenant who could house the Word made flesh. Fullness of life consists in abandoning our life to the will of God even if his ways are odd and difficult. Like Mary, we just have to say YES!
The Word can never be contained by the world but he can take possession of our humble hearts if, like Mary, we totally empty ourselves of anything that is un-godly. From the womb of Mary, she gave birth to God whom one day she would give away, just like the Father, as a gift and ransom for humanity. We do not stop in the contemplation of the indwelling of the Word-made-flesh in our lives; the moment we possess him, he only wishes “to be spoken” because he is meant be shared to the world….