Reflection for Thursday, December 20, 2012: 3rd week in Advent.

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Bannantine, Tom, S.J.
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Today we read or listen to the story of the Annunciation. Christmas is drawing very close, and so several days ago we began to dwell upon the earthly events that preceded the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. I find this gospel reading one of the most beautiful in the entire New Testament. I think that the editors and translators of the New American Bible did an outstanding job with the story of the Annunciation. The reading conveys very well the mystery of the scene and the confusion and humility of Mary.||All of us can read about and ponder the events of the Annunciation. This reading and the paintings and music it has inspired, are readily available to many of us. We can each set the scene in our imagination and reflect in our own way upon this story. So what is left to say in this reflection? Since Mary is the principal figure in this story, I want to say something about her. When I focus on Mary and her response to the angel, I am always impressed by what Mary says and what she does not say. What Mary says is yes, be it done to me according to your word. This is in accord with the plan of Almighty God for the salvation of all of us. And God knows that Mary will say yes even before she says it.||But I keep coming back to the fact that Mary had a choice, either yes or no. God did not make Mary say yes. Her answer was completely voluntary. Like all of us, Mary has free will. God respects that, and never interferes with free will. So Mary could have told the angel no, I don't want any part of this. But Mary, responding to God's grace, humbly and voluntarily says yes. And that simple yes has consequences for all mankind, past, present, and future. The whole course of human history was influenced by Mary's response to the angel.||As we prepare to celebrate once again the birth of our savior let us respond to Mary with an outpouring of thanks to her for agreeing to be the mother of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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