FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
December 24, 2017
Fourth Sunday of Advent
WORD of the DAY
And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you. 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. (Luke 1: 28/38)
How shall I live this Word?
Today is both the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve. The Liturgy gives us Mary’s Annunciation for our meditation, She who is the most sublime Model, the Mother of our Savior who is about to be born.
In his greeting, the Angel says to Mary: “Hail, favored one, the Lord is with you!” This greeting expresses Mary’s vocation; it is her secret name known only to God, ‘full of grace’. Within Mary’s spiritual journey is enclosed ‘joy’, every promise of God’s goodness toward her, which radically transforms the humble woman of Nazareth, making her worthy of God’s glance. In Mary, in her body, joy and grace take a face, that of Emanuel, the Lord that comes to dwell among His people.
Mary experiences various reactions at the Angel’s words and seeks to understand the meaning of what she has heard. She keeps all these things, meditating on them in her heart, as is her usual way. Thus, she is able to question the angel and thus open a new horizon, a new space, and make a quality leap of faith. Mary responds with her readiness to do God’s will, in deepest humility; she recognizes herself as the servant of the Lord. God could only become incarnate in a heart ready for Him as was Mary’s. She is truly blessed!
Let us turn to Mary with heartfelt supplication asking her to help us pronounce our ‘yes’ to whatever God asks of us.
The Voice of St. Bernard of Clairvaux
The angel waits for the response. We too, Lord, wait for a word of compassion. If you consent, we will be free immediately. The Virgin gives this response quickly and through the Angel, to the Lord. She responds and receives the Word. She says her human word and conceives the divine Word. She emits the word that passes and receives the eternal Word. The whole world awaits this Yes!
Institute of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Via dell’Ateneo Salesiano 81, 00139 Rome, Italy
Comment by Fr. Ferdinando Bergamelli, SDB