Advent B-4

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

How do we listen to God? Are we listening?

The gospel reading for this fourth Sunday of Advent tells the familiar story of the Annunciation (Lk.1:26-38). The angel Gabriel announced to Mary, “You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus.” Mary listened and humbly answered the invitation, “Let it be done to me as you say.” With her simple “Fiat,” Mary transformed the world. When that announcement was made, it was as if the whole of creation, from the angels to the countless generations after Adam and Eve, were on tiptoe waiting to hear what this unknown maiden would say. Her “yes” was like thunder heard by all the angels. The whole heavenly realm rejoiced. Meanwhile in Nazareth and in the whole world, nobody noticed that something tremendous has happened. Salvation has come.

Action starter: Do you feel that God is inviting you to a special task or mission?

All because Mary listened. She heard the word and she acted on what she heard.

The story of the Annunciation and the Nativity are often depicted in plays, dioramas, and tableaus during the season of Advent and Christmas. The stage presentations are awaited events, especially when children are the actors. Parents become highly involved in such dramatizations, even more excited than their children who nervously deliver their much-practiced lines.

This story is also played out in our daily lives. God speaks His word to us. It might not be as dramatic as an angel appearing in a diaphanous vision before our very eyes. It could be as simple as God speaking to us through our intellect or our conscience, saying “Be truthful.” Or it could be God giving his counsel through a man of wisdom saying, “Be reconciled with your daughter.” Or God could be speaking to us through a decision reached by a community after much discussion, “Let us do this for the sake of the common good.” Or God can speak to us directly when we open the Holy Bible and find some inspiring word.

Indeed God speaks to us in many ways. However, we have to be constantly prepared and be ready to act when God chooses to speak to us and perhaps invite us for a special mission like what He did to Mary.

I once heard a lay preacher who was an excellent speaker. He was a shy person until he was inspired to write and then to speak to the crowd about his experience of God. He is still a shy person but he becomes a dynamo when he starts speaking about the wonderful things God has done in his life. There was this middle-aged housewife that one often sees in meetings, demonstrations, and public gatherings about community issues. She felt that God was calling her not only to attend to the needs of her own family but also to the concerns of the bigger community. There are countless examples.

God speaks to us in many ways. Are we listening?