December 24, 2023 at Saint Agnes & Saint William Catholic Churches in Naples, FL
2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8-12, 14=16 + Psalm 89, + Romans 16: 25-27 + Luke 1: 26-38
Gabriel is one busy angel. When I began to pay attention to how often and where that angel pops up in our stories this month, I am amazed at how much airline miles must be stacking up. It might well be enough to get us to heaven. And so, Gabriel is at work again, and we have just listened to a familiar passage with a difficult truth.
We must be very careful not to acknowledge the exceptional privilege of Mary and take ourselves off the hook. Visits from angels are for special people we might think, and that’s wrong. Every life is visited by revelations, insights, and calls to commitments. Every one of us knows that. We get too confused by artists’ representation of this scene. There is no reason to think that some figure with wings popped up out of nowhere and started a conversation with Mary. Remember my mantra?
This is not history. This is Theology.
No angel figure showed up in my life calling me to the priesthood, and if you told me an angel had shown up presenting your spouse to you, I would wonder how much eggnog you’ve been drinking. Yet, an open heart and an open mind makes way for all kinds of revelations, insights, and calls to commitment. When these come to us, we can either reluctantly agree and become joyless people, or we turn away in weakness and relief. What a tragedy that would be.
Yet the wonderful thing about this is that God sends another angel, and we all get another opportunity to open our hearts and minds to say, “yes,” accepting God’s will and then marvel at how God’s plan unfolds for us into a life of joy and peace.