MARY DID PUT HER TOTAL TRUST IN GOD’S CARE
(A biblical reflection on THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT [YEAR B], 24 December 2017)
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:26-38
First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16; Psalms: Psalm 89:2-5,27,29; Second Reading: Romans 16:25-27
The Scripture Text
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38 RSV)
The word “Messiah” never appears in today’s Gospel; however, the author implies it throughout. The Jews expected the Messiah to be a descendant of David, whom Luke refers to in today’s Gospel and whom we hear about in today’s first reading. David was, at one time, the king of the Jews and a great military leader.
According to 2 Samuel 7, David felt guilty that has lived in a luxurious palace while the Ark of the Covenant (the box containing the tablets of the Ten Commandments) was kept in a tent. Because the Jews believed God was present wherever the ark was, David wanted to build a house (Temple) for both the Ark and the Lord. David abandoned his plans after the Lord revealed to the prophet Nathan in a dream, that He, the Lord, would build a house for David instead, God said this would not be a physical house but a royal household of people. David’s kingdom, according to God, would endure forever and His throne would always be firm. The Jewish people believed this meant one of David’s descendants would always govern them.
Long after David’s death, one enemy after another conquered the Jews, killing their kings and then ruling over them. Since God would not lie and was always faithful, many Jews concluded they had misunderstood the promises He made to David. They reasoned that God would one day fulfil His promises through one of David’s descendants. This person would be the Messiah.
That is why Luke carefully tells us that Mary was engaged to Joseph, a descendant of David, and that Mary’s child would one day occupy David’s throne. With these references, Luke shows us that legally (through Joseph), Jesus was a descendent of David and was also the Messiah. Jesus would rule over the house of Jacob (also called Israel; his twelve sons’ descendants make up the twelve tribes of Israel), a rule that will never end.
When Mary agreed to God’s request to be the mother of the Messiah, God didn’t tell her of all the sufferings and disappointments she would experience. Rather, she put her total trust in God’s care.
Source: Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 126-127.)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, by Your Holy Spirit make me willing and able to quiet myself before You as Mary did. Open my heart to Your grace, so that through the angel’s message to Mary I can learn to believe in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, Your only begotten Son. Lead me to be a faithful disciple of Christ, by always saying “yes” to Your will. Amen.
Jakarta, 22 December 2017
A Christian Pilgrim