FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Today is a double- header. The normal Sunday Mass Times are still in effect while the Christmas Vigil Mass doesn't start until 5pm. A text message from Google prompted me esta manana @4. Mea culpa. Es confuso y yo tambien.
It's still Advent and won't go anywhere without Blessed Mother. In fact, Mary has been trending for the most part of December. The weekday readings predominantly recount the infancy narratives along with the astonishing story of the Annunciation proclaimed today -the shocking announcement of the divine plan of salvation heralded by the ecstatic angel Gabriel, the initial (hesitant) response which could have gone otherwise, the friendly assurance of the messenger letting her know not to worry about anything for God is in complete control of the situation and the final response- the humble reception of the message relying entirely on a power outside her.
Mary's humble acceptance of God's timeless invitation and the keeping of things close in her heart has become the hallmark of discipleship. She represents the hidden, the invisible, the often-ignored and taken for granted inner life without which any minister would run around empty and easily fall prey to the greatest showman ever - the devil. Spending time in silence with God is a requirement of faith, the enduring force that holds life together. It's not surprising that the Ad "Putting Christ back at Christmas" is hitting the IoT by storm which gives any church leader enough reasons to rant about the widespread commercialism. Mary is the exemplar of things unseen, unpublished, behind the scenes, off-camera, the stuff that go unnoticed but a necessary component. A professional player once shared in an interview that the most excited part of the game is the preparation.
In the sacred writings, Mary shows us the indispensable value of receptivity - a spiritual discipline that freely puts oneself on the receiving end, doing nothing at all in order to ponder the depths of things. This is a spiritual exercise that's easily overlooked as unnecessary in the scheme of things. An engaged couple preparing for marriage didn't mind coming to the office weekly and in fact, surprised me, Father, if seminary formation took you over a decade of preparation, then a year, even 6 months is a drop in the bucket. Amen.