God Is in Charge

12-20-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Our first scripture passage this weekend tells a most significant story about King David who was the great power in the entire world, at least so he and others thought. He had an impressive military career, which had resulted in a peaceful time for Israel with prosperity for its people. He was at the very pinnacle of success. He had placed the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem, the capital city, and now in this passage spoke out loud about how he would like to do something special for God. He decides he needs to build God a worthy temple.

But this is not what God wanted. According to the prophet Nathan, David had gotten his and God's roles confused. God is to care for David in ways greater than David can dream. If we were to count the times, we would learn that God told David that God is the source of strength, triumph, and success. David does not realize that all power comes from God, not a human person such as a mere king. Rather than David building a "house" for God, God will instead give Da-vid a "house," a kingdom that will stand firm forever.

Surprisingly, we learn that this kingdom started in a humble house in the out-of-the-way village of Nazareth. A special messenger from God came with a greeting of joy and a request for the young woman not to be afraid. The carpenter Joseph of the house and family of David is engaged to her and thus the child will be a child of the house of David. We learn that Mary as did those before her always trusted that God would act on her behalf. Her questions were not about disbelief, but about the hope of how this would happen. She asked about the next step; she did not doubt that God would act and lead. Mary clearly needed to know how God would act, what God would do to fulfill the promises kept close and dear through Israel's long history. Without doubt or guile, Mary welcomed God's future and her place in it: "Let it be done to me as you say."

Our Gospel passage speaks to our hope and our trust that God will fulfill His promises. This special hope in our God is what keeps us from getting caught in the vicious cycle of perpetual worry and forlorn hopelessness. When we end up thinking and believing that everything depends upon us, then we become truly hopeless. We must remember that our lives depend upon God and thus we must act out not God's role, but our part and responsibility.

We must and should accept our part and responsibility and get on with whatever is before us. Mary did. In fact, she went and visited her cousin Elizabeth who needed help at that time. She put her life and trust in God and stepped along to live each day and do her part. So to have hope and trust as Mary did means that we accept God as the one who is in charge and that we need to do our part in faith and trust. This is not always easily done, but Mary's example tells us this is what we should believe and do.

Fr. Brian