Fourth Sunday of Advent
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Psalm 89:2-5, 27-29
Gospel Luke 1:26-38
I remember it as if it was yesterday. I was sitting on the floor, surrounded by my friends on a youth retreat when I was 17 years old.
A priest was reading us a story. I do not remember what the story was or who the priest was, but I do remember a warm feeling that started in the center of my chest and spread throughout my body.
As I looked up at the priest, a thought ran through my mind, “I want to be the person up front helping others grow in faith.” This was the beginning of my call to serve in Church ministry.
Over the years, I have heard many individuals’ “call stories.” Each is unique. Some are really astounding, full of phenomenological signs and wonders, while others are soft and gentle with promptings from within.
I have yet to hear one quite like the one we hear in this week’s Gospel.
No one has ever shared with me a story that involved an angel appearing or a message that they were going to be a mother, though still a virgin. But most of the stories I have heard do have a few things in common with Mary’s call to be the mother of God.
Many times people have told of questions they had when they felt called by God, their own “how can this be?” query.
And almost all of them have a very similar ending, though they do not always use the exact phrase: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Feeling that God is calling you, whatever the call is about -- a move, a new job, your vocation in life, or anything else -- can be overwhelming.
We do not know all the thoughts Mary had or exactly what she was feeling. I imagine that she was a bit overwhelmed, too.
We do know that in the end she said yes. We also know that this simple yes launched an amazing adventure full of joy, sorrow, and, ultimately, eternal life with the one she was saying yes to.
May this be true of all of our calls as well.
Mary, mother of God, pray for us.
This column is offered in cooperation with The North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.