20 December 2005

Make him flesh and bone...

4th Week of Advent (Tues): Is 7.10-14; Luke 1.26-38
Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
St. Albert the Great Priory, Irving, TX

How will you (we) announce the arrival of the Lord to the world?

John the Baptist is the ardent herald of the Christ Child’s coming. Gabriel, sent by God to Mary, announces the presence of the Lord. And Mary, her troubled spirit settled by the prophetic words of the angel, becomes the gospel’s first preacher, her Son’s first disciple.

John heralds the Lord’s advent. Gabriel proclaims His presence. And Mary brings him into flesh. John comes before, out of the desert waste, to wash the willing hearers of his words clean with water baptism. Gabriel, dispatched by God to Nazareth, comes to Mary, a virgin, with a frightful greeting: “The Lord is with you.” And Mary, made anxious by the angelic greeting, questions the Lord’s messenger, hears his word, and comes to the Lord accepting of her purpose, given over wholly to His plan. John heralds his coming. Gabriel proclaims his arrival. Mary gives him flesh and bone.

How will you (we) announce the arrival of the Lord to the world?

The Annunciation in Luke’s gospel is a moment of historic convergence. Look at the characters in this drama: God Himself, the Archangel Gabriel, King David, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist. Look at the action: Mary’s humble acceptance of the announcement of her motherhood and the Incarnation of the Son of God, his arrival in the flesh among us. Look at the consequences: the salvation of all creation, the commencement of our graced lives toward holiness, toward perfection in Him.

This is the beginning of our end.

Not our demise. But our purpose, our goal, the last moment we are enslaved by sin. At Mary’s yes, we are freed. Mary preaches, “May it be done to me according to your word.” And it was. And now we rejoice and give thanks to our Mother for her generosity, her humility, and her last sacrifice.

How will you (we) announce the arrival of the Lord to the world? John heralds the Lord. Gabriel proclaims his presence. Mary gives him flesh.

If we will herald the arrival of the Lord, we will not run from the hard moments of witness, those difficult times when speaking about Christ to others puts us clearly on the outside. We will firmly, boldly, even dramatically herald the Lord’s coming against any and all opposition, never bending to political or cultural expediency, and never counting the costs of speaking his word.

If we will proclaim the presence of the Lord, we will live now our eternal lives yet to come; we will live the perfection we are promised, fully aware of our failings and celebrating God’s rich mercy. We will be messengers of the Spirit, vehicles of the Lord’s gifts, the media of grace. And we will exude trust in the Lord, outshining every anxiety, every fear.

If we will give flesh and bone to the Lord, we will become Christ for others. We will take seriously our progress in holiness, our growth into the divine, preaching and teaching what Christ preached and taught. We will say to God, “May it done to me according to your word” and we will become that Word, spoken and made flesh, preached aloud and taught in action.

Herald his coming. Proclaim his presence. Make him flesh and bone. Giving yourself wholly to His Word.

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