Advent’s ‘I Accept’ Button
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1:26-38.
The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“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, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
The beautiful thing about our celebration today is that it prepares us for the momentous event of tomorrow. The Gospel relates to us the Annunciation of Jesus’ Birth. Today, the angel Gabriel lays out the Terms of Service before Mary. He announces to her God’s plan for the child that she will bear. Reading through the angel’s announcement, Mary asks a clarification that will point out to us the other-worldly nature of this Child. It is conceived not in normal human sexual relations but through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Grand though it was, it would have been all for nought if Mary did not say ‘yes’. But the Blessed Virgin clicked the ‘I accept’ button to become the Blessed Mother. Mary’s ‘fiat‘ was crucial in our salvation. By saying ‘yes’ to the words of the angel, she bore in her womb the Word, called holy, the Son of God. Divine grace which was already at work in the Virgin gave her strength to accept that proposal.
This last Sunday of Advent reminds us that our salvation cannot happen without our cooperation. Jesus cannot be born into our hearts unless we also click the ‘I accept’ button at the end of God’s love letter to us. The Gospel challenges us to do just that. It is the last stage of our preparation for the birth of Jesus. If we assent with faith to the angel’s message to us, we will be surprised by the wonders that God has in store for us, for nothing is impossible for God.