4th Sunday in Advent

December 20, 2020 At St. Peter & St. William Churches in Naples, FL

2 Samuel 7, 1-5, 8-12, 1 6 + Psalm 89 + Romans 16, 25-27 + Luke 1, 26-38

9:00am Sunday at St. William Church in Naples, FL

These are troubled times for people longing for God. It’s been so for quite some time before an invisible virus upset out comfortable way of life that was often predictable and even somewhat controllable. Slowly and gradually this scientific age of ours has eroded away all possibility of the mystical and the miraculous preferring what is predictable and measurable. Anything beyond our control troubles us and soon makes us anxious. When we don’t know something, we can’t live that way, so we spin out conspiracy theories and pretend that we know something when we really don’t. To make matters worse, social media opportunities give center stage to for too many who know nothing but would like us to think they know everything and they are sure of it.

When confronted with an unknowable God who uses the impossible to reveal the plan of redemption, we are left to either shake our heads and wander off into some so-called personal spirituality, or we stand in awe and learn how live with and embrace what is not always clear, expected, or controlled. Those who can do so have learned from the young woman, whose story we tell on this weekend before Christmas, how to discover in the unexpected or even what seems impossible the chance that God is there in the midst of it turning what might be a tragedy or an unexpected, unpleasant surprise into a mystical moment.

Sometimes it’s a big thing like a terrible accident that strikes down a young person full of promise and life. Sometimes it’s the death of love and a broken promise once made for better or worse. Sometimes it is simply the ravages of aging that turns a once kind and loving partner into a mean and cruel abuser. And then these days, it might be that invisible virus that has driven us apart and away from a church and sacrament that gave us comfort. We want to understand how and why, but science and medicine, psychology and sociology don’t really help. Most of the time, they just look for something or someone to blame.

That young woman in Nazareth never tried to blame anyone or even look for a reason why or how. She looked for God in the surprise of her life, and simply let it all work out without trying to explain, excuse, or even know how or ask that question: “Why me?”. She allowed a mystical moment to change her.  Drawing from that deep well of grace she simply “let it be” which is what “Fiat” simply means. We are all a people full of grace. We just sometimes forget about it. It began with water pouring over our heads and a sacred oil anointing us as God’s chosen ones. Marked at our Baptism with the sign of the cross, grace and favor filled us to the brim. It’s still there. God does not take back gifts freely given. With that grace, we can grow, we can change, we can learn to look at the unknown, the unknowable, and even the unwelcome and find the mystery of God’s presence and be touched by a mystical presence beyond our imagination and our puny science that will forever seek and look for the divine which is right here among us all the time.

Father Tom Boyer