Bread in the Wilderness

Father Carl Diederichs

All Saints Catholic Church

The Fourth Sunday of Advent brings us closer to the Christmas Story. Our Gospel reading is Luke 1: 26-38. The angel Gabriel comes to a young woman and asks her if she would consider becoming the mother of the Savior. Mary was already engaged to Joseph, but they had not started living together. She was still a virgin. She was the most unlikely person to be asked this question. She wasn’t even of the line of David and the Messiah was to born of David’s line. This was so much for such a young person to comprehend.

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God,” the angel said. Gabriel had already said that she was “full of grace” and that the Lord was already with her. One can only wonder what was going on in Mary’s heart and mind. Her life would be forever changed if she agreed to this request from God.

She asked one question, ” How can this be,” since she was not with a man? The angel answered and said that this child would be from God. And somehow, with the grace of God, she consented. She let go of her concerns and insecurities and was prepared to shoulder the shame that would probably come to her because of her marital situation. People would start whispering.

She said yes! “Be it done unto me according to your word!” This one declarative sentence changed her whole life–and ours. She let go of her securities, her plans, and her way of life.

All of us who have been baptized into Jesus receive a call from God as Mary did. We are called to make Christ present in our world, in our sphere of influence. And we too don’t know the future and what our commitment to Jesus will mean. We do know it will mean changing our plans, as Mary had to do. The more we know Christ and His mission, the closer we come to being like Mary.

Mary, immediately after accepting God’s plan for her, shows us how to act. She was told about Elizabeth, her cousin’s pregnancy in her old age, and she went to her. We have many opportunities to go to others in their need. In fact, as a follower of Christ the needs of others come before our own. At least that is the way it should be.

As we count down to Christmas, hopefully we will look beyond the tinsel and snowflakes to see others and their need for us in their lives. No gift can take the place of us being the “gift” for others.

May God bless you and all God’s children. May you have a blessed Christmas