December 12, 2012
Associate Professor, Philosophy
Psalm 1:1Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
Judith 13:18bcde, 19
The Gospel story is a familiar one, but it is a fabulous one! Gabriel, whose name means strength of God, comes, a being of incredible power, radiant with beauty and light, his heart full of the love of God. Daily, he beholds the face of God. We can hardly begin to imagine what it was like to be in his presence.
And he, God’s angel, comes saluting Mary, proclaiming that she is full of grace and that God is with her. At first, Mary is greatly troubled; she is left speechless before this marvel. But Gabriel, too, marvels, at Mary, at what his greeting means, and at what he has come to tell Mary. For he understands, in a way that no human being understands – not even Mary, not yet – what it means that Mary is full of grace and that the Lord is with her (this magnificent angel, who daily beholds the face of God, does not speak these words lightly); and what it means that the Lord, the Most High, wants his Son to become a man, a baby, a tiny embryo, and wants Mary to be the mother of this infant.
As we await Christmas, God wants us to share in this excitement -- the excitement of Mary being greeted by an angel and the excitement that comes with beginning to understand, as Gabriel understood, how greatly God honored Mary, and how marvelous a thing it is that the Son of the Most High became a man.
Francis understood this, that these were spectacular things, and that God wants us to share in the excitement of them. That is why he organized the living nativity scene at Greccio.
Francis, witness to the excitement and joy of Christmas, pray for us.
Gabriel, strength of God, pray for us.
Mary, full of grace, blessed mother of the Son of the Most High, pray for us.