When things are challenging it’s important for us to hear ‘Do not be afraid’ as Mary did when she was asked to take on her role and as Joseph heard in his dream featured in today’s Gospel, ‘’Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife.” We get some indication in the Gospels, but we can only imagine the thoughts and questions they had.
Mary’s encounter with the Angel Gabriel and the power of the ‘Most High’ covering her with its shadow was of course a profound experience of God for her and given salvation history for each one of us and for the whole World. We are eternally grateful to St Joseph for responding in the way he did to support and protect Mary and her unborn child at a time of great vulnerability for her. Both Mary and Joseph willingly and generously responded to what God wanted not knowing the full implications just as we don’t in responding to God’s call to us. We need to be reassured constantly not to be afraid and keep walking the journey.
It is difficult to discern God’s plan for us at times. Our lives can be messy and confusing, and we can be more than a little resistant to the circumstances we find ourselves in. When we look back though with eyes of faith, we can see how God’s plan unfolded.
There is something liberating to be able to say…I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
We may not experience the divine intervention that Joseph experienced but we do hear voices of encouragement, we dream of new possibilities, we witness the example of people faced with huge challenges in their lives, we experience feelings of emptiness, loneliness, uncertainty that call us out of ourselves in search of some sense of meaning and purpose. God does have a plan for each one of us and his Spirit is at work prompting us niggling away………. leading us into a deeper and more trusting relationship. It is up to us to be attentive and not to get in the way.
We thank God for all the people and events that have facilitated our journey in faith. God’s plan for us has led us here. We have received our mission in baptism and been sealed with the Holy Spirit in order to radiate that reality within our families and communities. We call on the prayers of Mary, Our Mother and St Joseph to help us.
Pondering on what is happening and happened in our lives knowing ‘God is with us’ through it all can be helpful to gain a sense of peace and meaning from those things we may find demanding and difficult to understand.
We hear that Mary often pondered the experiences of her life in her heart. I know things can be extremely busy for us at this time of the year but to steal some quiet time during the rush and bustle to simply ponder and give thanks for who and what we are grateful for is worth the effort. Maybe we can just take a few moments now.
My mother and I recorded a song together about Mary about 28 years ago now encouraging the need to ponder and listen as she did. Listen to 'O Maria' featured on the double album 'Holy Land'
May our bodies, minds and hearts be ready like Mary’s to receive the coming of Christ.
This is my last Sunday Sharing for 2022. I will resume my postings in 2023.
May you have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.