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Saturday, 17 December 2011

4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR B (DECEMBER 18): A REFLECTION ON THE READINGS

For the readings click here 
The Catechism of Christian Doctrine (CCD) No. 30 affirms that the chief powers of the soul are the memory, the understanding and the will. Of all these, the will is the most difficult to be influenced against one’s desire. The will is the faculty by which a person decides to perform an action out of conviction and motivation. Psychologists have also confirmed that the will is the strongest faculty to be bent in man against his desire. To demonstrate this point, I will share this funny experience I had during my last apostolic work in a remote parish. There was this young boy who insulted a senior during the catechism class. I asked the young boy to kneel down for insulting an elder and the boy retorted: “though I am kneeling down in your eyes, in my mind I am standing up”. This illustrates that the willpower is in the mind and that is very difficult to be bent even in justifiable circumstances.

In the first reading, we see David abandon his will for the will of God. David triumphed over his enemies in battle and when he was settled, he decided to build a temple for God. This will was communicated to the Prophet Nathan who approved it. But God revealed a contrary will to David through the prophet. God’s will for David was not for him to build him a house but to establish his throne forever. David had to bend his will for God’s will to be done and for His promises to come true in his life.

In the gospel reading, we see the fulfillment of the promise made to David in the message of the angel to the Virgin Mary. Before this time, she willed to offer her whole life to God as a virgin but this was against the will of her parents who betrothed her to Joseph. Mary accepted the will of her parents for her only to abandon this will again and accept the will of God for her through the angel Gabriel.

Today, we reflect on Mary’s ability to say “no” to her will and to say “yes” to the will of God. Mary’s disposition to accept the will of God is seen in her response to the angel: “I am the handmaid of the Lord let it be done to me according to your will”. Before this response, Mary’s reaction is rendered in Greek as: “pos etsai touto” meaning “how will this be?” Mary was not asking for a sign as Zechariah did (kata ti ginosomai touto – according to what will I know this) but was asking for how it would happen because she knew it was impossible for a virgin to conceive without knowing a man. 

On this last Sunday of advent, we see David’s acceptance of the will of God and Mary’s response to the will of God as an example to follow. Are we ready to forgo our wills to follow the will of God? How prepared are we to listen to God and learn His will for us? Is our faith strong enough like that of David and Mary to believe in God’s will for us? Are we humble enough like them? Mary’s response facilitated God’s salvation for us. Through our cooperation with God’s will, He will be pleased to do marvelous things in and through our lives, as He did in and through the lives of David and Mary. We only need to give Him a chance by learning His will for us through His Word, the Bible especially during this period of advent and Christmas. God’s will for us this season may be to help the poor, to clothe the naked, to assist in Church projects, to forgive our enemies, to restore peace, to avoid sin and to live a holy life. Are you ready to do this and avoid those sinful acts you have willed to perform this season and beyond? Will you do the will of God out of conviction or will you be like the little boy who though doing the act physically has a different mind frame to it? Doing the will of God requires some convictions. Are you really convinced that God's will is better? May God through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary help us to do His will and witness with joy the presence of Christ among us whose food was only to do the will of the Father who sent him.

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