Thursday, December 08, 2011

According to Your Word

December 8, 2011

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree, the LORD God called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself." Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!" Genesis 3:9-11

In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. Ephesians 1:5-6, 11-12

Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Luke 1:38


Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me. (Ignatius Loyola)


Sing to the Lord a new song, a song so old it is new.

In our 24/7 Internet era, we are confronted by "news" all the time. Headlines can track us down whenever our phones are turned on. No longer do we even need to wait until the weekly Time or Life is delivered in the mail. We don't hold on waiting for the morning or (remember when) afternoon newspaper is delivered by a boy on a bike. Even the evening news and the hourly radio broadcasts now come to us through the Internet if we can't wait for the six o'clock news broadcast.

What is the price of progress? We are condemned to be confronted by the base content of those broadcasts and podcasts. We get to learn of the every exploit of so-called celebrities. Should Alec Baldwin be banned from American Airlines for playing Words with Friends? Was Kim Kardashian's 78-day, multi-million dollar wedding a fake? Did Ashton Kutcher cheat? Did Beyonce fake a baby bump? Is Lindsay Lohan going to jail? Will Charlie Sheen meltdown again? What will the Donald do next?

Fortunately, we have an alternative to the news of the weird. You hold in your hands (not the Daily Tripod) that -- the Bible. Let it abide in you. The Word invites us to confront, consume and copy stories of people reaching through time to tell us, "Do as I do."

Today's Gospel gives us three examples of the kind of behavior we are being taught to study for lessons in piety and action. The angel Gabriel is following through on the command to be sent to Mary to evangelize the will of God. Elizabeth, despite her years, is blessed with a child. And Mary. Oh Mary! "May it be done to me according to your Word."

Her 2012-year-old attitude that is so fresh that the media will miss it and instead cover how much we are shopping this season. I hope I am wrong, but outside of Catholic publications, I doubt this day commemorating the Immaculate Conception will even merit a ten-second blurb on NPR or FOX, a paragraph in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times -- unless some tragedy happens inside Mass. But then they will miss the miraculous while waiting for the tragic. Inside the Mass and inside our hearts, we will remember a simply human being not in the news -- that scared, scarred and sacred pregnant teenager from a poor Palestinian village accepting the will of God and her Son who conquers death moments later and comes to abide in us just as he did in her more than two millennium ago.

Sing to the Lord a new song, a song so new it is old.


What part of God's will are you being asked to accept today? What part of your will do you think you need to set aside to make room for His?