Thursday, 20 December 2012

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Is 7:10-14

Ps 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

Lk 1:26-38

The readings for the day can be found here.

Even more frightening than the prospect that God will deny our prayers is the possibility that he will answer them. Today’s reading from the prophet Isaiah presents Ahaz’s reticence to engage and (yelp!) be engaged by God. Ahaz’s modesty proves false when, despite being invited by God, he refuses to participate in God’s saving plan for the world.

Mary is the church’s antidote to Ahaz. Mary’s acceptance of God’s offer resulted in a gift that exceeded even Isaiah’s imagination. Not only would a virgin conceive a son that signified God’s presence among his people, but the Virgin would conceive God himself! The angel Gabriel was indeed right to declare nothing will be impossible for God.

False piety and self-love are the stuff that brings prophets to the fore. And so in response to Ahaz’s side-stepping God, Isaiah stands in his place to be God’s agent of prophecy and promise to his people. Unlike Ahaz, Mary’s true piety, humble submission, and selfless love found favor with God. Mary’s ‘yes’ to God was compelled by a love that overcame her fear, and resulted in a Love that overcame the fear-mongering ways of this world.

May we this Advent season emulate the Blessed Virgin Mary, who lovingly dared to engage and be engaged by God.

Ben Wayman is a PhD student in historical theology.

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