Russell Pollitt SJ The sexual abuse crisis that rocked the Catholic Church worldwide has been one of the most disillusioning things I have had to face as a priest. It...
If we look at this Sunday’s
ENTRANCE ANTIPHON we read – “let the earth be opened and bring forth a Saviour.” Surely you must remember Isaiah’s words from last week? …. “a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up.” So, how is your little spinach patch? You have four days to dig around the plants and apply a little fertilizer! (see LUKE 13: 6 – 9) Why wait for 2015? Christmas 2014 beckons!
OLD TESTAMENT READING THIS WEEK [2 SAMUEL 7: 1 – 8. 8b. 12 – 14a. 16] is worth a read because it records that David had a rush of blood to the head, and suddenly he was going to undertake something really grand for the Lord. However, his ardour was cooled. The good God was content and at peace with his current abode. He was really interested in David’s heirs and successors. The message here is simple. David must focus his efforts and attentions on building a strong and firm family. The Lord was well able to take care of himself / herself!
Here is a call for us to focus our final Advent efforts on those close to and around us. Pass on something simple, clear and honest for this Christmas. In other words ensure that you are clear and happy with your own identity as a Christian and Catholic who is about to share the good news that we do have a
SAVIOUR! There is no need to go overboard. Merely do the ordinary basic things as well as possible. In this activity keep in the mind words from TODAY’S PSALM [89 or 88] – “I will keep my faithful love for him always; with him my covenant shall last.“ Whatever I do, as simple and unobtrusive as it may be, the Lord himself will be faithful in his love – and I will contribute to making his covenant, his good news, last.
Now, make special note of
TODAY’S GOSPEL [LUKE1: 26 – 38]. Notice the contrast between Mary and David. The latter had grandiose plans to produce a lasting memorial to himself. God had other ideas. These ideas, and the Lord’s promise that he would do the building, becomes reality with the cooperation of a simple, unknown, woman who really has no idea whatsoever of what she is being asked to do. However, she senses and discerns the reality of the Lord’s presence, invitation and plan. She goes with the flow and acknowledges that she is the Lord’s servant: “I am the handmaid of the Lord.“
It is vital that we accept, deep down in ourselves, that Christmas is not there to serve us
. We are there to serve Christmas. Too often, if we are really honest with ourselves, we will discern how Christmas may be manipulated in such a way that ‘my way’ is the best and must be adhered to. I make myself, my directions, and my hospitality the important, non-negotiable manner of celebration. In all this the good news of Jesus Christ becomes somewhat blurred. Remember, that at Christmas I must be the servant of the Lord.
There is another difference between David and Mary. This is the fact that, despite his humble origins, David slowly developed delusions of grandeur. In addition the Lord often ceased to be his focus and he was inclined to do things his way. Mary could not have been more different.
I have to be ‘different’ in these last days of Advent. I must be a particular type of news reader (remember last week?). This is what Saint Paul means when, in
OUR NEW TESTAMENT READING [ROMANS 16: 25 – 27] he writes that the Lord “is able to strengthen you according to my Gospel ….the obedience of faith.“
This is the only way that, as Paul tells us, “the secret is made known.”