“I Need You.”
Advent B-4

Frank Enderle
Reproduced with Permission

Sometimes our road to redemption seems to be a rocky one. We imagine ourselves as playing a minor role in salvation history. We buy into the idea of a distant God who set the world into motion and then walked off and forgot about it—and us! An all-powerful God calling out to us to say “I need you” is beyond our imagination. Yet that is what God is saying to each and every one of us. In Mary we find the perfect example of the ideal disciple who hears the word, says “yes” in total openness, and acts upon it.

In the Gospel Reading today, Saint Luke presents to us a virgin betrothed to Joseph, a man of the family of David. God, from all eternity, had chosen a young woman named Mary to be the mother of the Savior of the world. Saint Luke says that, when she received the announcement from the angel, the Virgin Mary was startled. She was greatly troubled—not because she doubted that she would do whatever God wanted her to do but because she did not understand how it could occur. In spite of this, she had only one answer: “Be it done unto me according to your word.” With this answer, the Virgin shows us how faith and obedience to the will of the Lord play a decisive role in the life of someone who is completely dedicated to God.

This Sunday, the last Sunday of Advent, we prepare ourselves to celebrate with joy the Christmas holidays that are rapidly approaching. During this season we Christians have been preparing ourselves, with a sincere attitude of faith and hope, to commemorate the birth of the Savior.

Yet without the Blessed Mother’s consent, without the “fiat,” that the she gave, the Messiah who came to spread His kingdom of peace and world throughout the world would not have taken flesh. We all yearn for the kingdom that Our Lord came to establish and consolidate. Yet we sometimes forget that that kingdom of justice and righteousness will last forever because a simple young girl, who loved God more than life itself, 2,000 years ago, decided to change her life, risking it, simply because God asked her to do so.

This final part of Advent should be a time to meditate on how the year that is about to end has gone. We have the habit of making plans with good intentions at this time of year but many times they are not carried out. More than once we have seen, sadly, that many of the projects that we had planned to carry out at the beginning of the year have remained only dreams at year’s end. It could be because we did not know the direction we needed to take in order to start them off and were afraid to ask or maybe because from the beginning the path that we took was not the right one. Sometimes we don’t follow through on these intentions because when the first small difficulty arises, we lose heart. We think that it is too hard to continue on. We lose hope in ever accomplishing anything. A lukewarm attitude, worldly desires, and a tendency to do things the easy way can also cause us to be discouraged by problems that occur along the road.

Sisters and brothers, God has an urgent need for our help, just as He did for Mary’s. God calls on us to announce His presence to a world that would rather not hear about Him! What better season than Christmas, when we commemorate the Lord’s birth into this world, to show our need for the Messiah as well as our Messiah’s need for us? What better time of year for us to resolve to be God’s eyes, ears and hands, to be God’s instruments of consolation, of peace, of mercy in our families, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our schools, in our workplace?

If this season of Advent has gone by rapidly without being as fruitful in our spiritual lives as we had planned, if we have not taken the opportunity to meditate on our lives with the intention of changing what needs to be changed and strengthening what needs to be strengthened, we still have a little time to do so. Maybe if we contemplate the faith and the courage of Our Most Blessed Mother, Mary, we will find, in her attitude, a new perspective on our own valor and decisiveness.