I just can’t imagine how festive the atmosphere right now knowing that we are already on the 4th and the last Sunday of Advent which coincides with the last day of “Simbang Gabi” and that finally the long wait is over!
Every year the advent preparation always has a Marian tone. Mary’s presence as a Mother never destroyed and will never ruin the rhythm of any liturgical season much more the story of man’s salvation. In fact, of all the people, she knows best what and how it is to wait, to hope and to celebrate. Mary perfectly lived the advent and Christmas and for this she is the best model, guide and teacher that we could have in understanding with a deeper faith our role in the Incarnation of Christ, our Lord.
The readings for today lead us to the reality of Christ’s unselfish love for men as narrated in the dialogue between God and David as intermediated by the prophet Nathan in the second book of Samuel as well as in the letter of St. Paul to the Romans. Likewise, this unselfish love is best expressed I believe with the soft, sweet and modulated voice of Mary saying: “I am the handmaid of the Lord be it done to me according to your word.” This love is set to bring back to man the true sense of joy that can only be experienced in true freedom. For this, Christ is coming!
Nevertheless, His coming was foretold by Gabriel to Mary. And this is where our reflection is leading us. How do we translate the fiat of Mary in our time where the reality of the world is challenging the truth of this unselfish love? How relevant is the “yes” of Mary in a world beset with egoism, animosity and indifference? Let us look at Mary, stop for a while and listen attentively like a child who longs to hear his mother’s voice. A voice that will surely lead us to where the true joy lies—in the manger.
In the 1st reading where God told Nathan to tell David this seemingly rhetorical question “Is it you who would build me a house to dwell in? But the real reason lies deeper in the desire of the Lord to remind David that it is He who is in control. Looking at what is going on around we find ourselves in the same situation. We control the world and even control God! We make the world appear bigger than the one who created it. We are the salt of the earth but we lose this identity when we are separated from the source of our saltiness. Like, when man starts to recognize more of himself and his needs than what he can share. And when prayer starts to have its sense only when one is in dire need. On the other hand, this was contradicted by Mary’s fiat when the angel Gabriel greeted her “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” she knew right there and then that the real reason lies in the unselfish and generous love of God. She was blessed not because of her own merit but because of her Son. So, therefore, the Fiat of Mary entails wisdom that is capable of recognizing in the real world the genuine source of all that is good which is Jesus the One who is to come!
The words of St. Paul to the Romans “the mystery which was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed…” reveals God´s covenant he made with Abraham and his people. The assurance that He indeed never left us alone and will never abandon us. Paul healed his Roman brothers from their fears, confusions and incredulity by reaffirming and encouraging them that Jesus Christ is the Emmanuel and that indeed, He is with them. Though the world is full of surprises and they come in different forms. Some would receive it in a special form of a problem. Others are overwhelmed by the massive breach between nations, brothers and families still God stayed with us. He left us a clue of his healing in the person of Mary when the angel Gabriel said to her “do not be afraid Mary…” The Fiat of Mary assumes the responsibility of becoming God’s healing to any form of divisions and pains.
The presence of Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary in the story of Christ’s auto-revelation has something to do with how Christ envisioned his Church. Likewise, the “yes – be it done to me according to your word” of Mary came after the angel revealed to her that her cousin also received the biggest surprise of her life just like her. This discloses God’s omnipotence that there is nothing impossible under his watchful eyes and that underlines the response of his Church, the people whom he loves the most. Time and again, the Fiat of Mary is the attitude of the Church of Christ, to be receptive to the call of Christ to continue his mission.
Every time that passes by one thing is so sure that we also grow in age. Like Mary, as we grow in age we must also grow in wisdom that we may be able to see Christ, the real reason of our joy and the source of all that is good amidst the glittering lights and decors around us. He is the reason to celebrate.
Like Mary, let us be God’s healing to our many ignored and marginalized poor brothers and be part of the healing process our country and the other nations needed as we welcome the birth of our Savior.
Like Mary, let us be the Church of People that Christ wants us to be. A Church that is willing to carry with open heart the mission of Christ to evangelize. Let us be the Church that welcomes brothers and shares the joy of having Christ.
Now that we are a few hours away from celebrating the birth of Christ, we are called to be like our Mother Mary. Christmas is about the Fiat. Christ gave his “yes” and Mary as well. Be brave! Make a difference. Instead of making a Christmas wish or list why not your “yes.” Christmas would be more meaningful if we would give and share our “yes,” too.
FELIZ NAVIDAD A TODOS!
Fray Allan M. Jacinto, OAR