Advent 4th Sunday – Year B

Luke 1:26-38

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. 
REFLECTION, By Fr Aldo, sx

The Logic of God is different from that we are accustomed with. One of the most impressive things is God’s choice of the most simple, weak and unusual means in order to realize his projects. The Gospel of today presents some of these unusual choices.

The choice of place where the Messiah would be born. The eyes of God do not rest upon famous cities that could serve as a strategy to make any message spread faster or to target some important persons or groups. God’s eyes rest upon a provincial village lost in the mountains: Nazareth, Galilee. The Galileans were actually quite rude, in many ways, ignorant, and even impure, due to their constant exposure to foreigners. In fact, the priests of Jerusalem would consider the Galileans semi-pagans. The importance of Nazareth was such that it was mentioned not even once in the entire Old Testament. When Philip talks with enthusiasm about Jesus of Nazareth, Nathanael naturally reacts: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

The choice of Mary, a virgin. The eyes of God do not rest upon heroes and liberators like Pacquiao, Stalone, Gideon, Salomon, but they rest upon a virgin woman. We are accustomed to see virginity as a value closely related to greatness and dignity. But in Scriptures virginity means exactly the opposite. The word “virgin” actually has a depreciative connotation and it refers to a woman of no value; someone who was able not even to attract the attention of any man, like a dry tree that produces no fruit. Jerusalem, for example, during its most critical moments in History, when defeated and humiliated was called the “virgin Sion.” (Jr. 31:4).

Luke is the Evangelist of the poor and since the beginning of the Gospel he underlines God’s choice for the least ones of the whole world. Mary understood the logic of God and proclaims to all what is it that is needed so to fulfill the love of God. The only thing Mary had was her poverty and her virginity and God exalted her.  Mary is a sign of hope to all the poor. When we contemplate her we recognize that God can realize great things even through the most insignificant ones.

After announcing Salvation, the angel also announces the birth of a son who will inherit the throne of David. Again, David is example of a little one who became great through the benevolence of God.

Before God we all feel small, poor and unworthy. When we revise our lives we observe so many mistakes, failures, weaknesses and bad habits. But we should not get discouraged and think that there is no salvation for us. Let us remember the angel’s words: “Nothing is impossible for God.” He is accustomed to do great things having poverty and misery as a starting point.

Many, perhaps all had failed to understand the logic of God, except Mary. Let her words be ours too: “Thy will be done.”

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