• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 18 December 2020 18:06

Fourth Sunday of Advent - 2020

Written by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD


Fourth Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:26-38

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestThe movie, “To be or not to be” is a comedy film by Mel Brooks which is about a group of stage actors who are trying to escape from the Nazis in the newly occupied Poland in 1939. In one scene, Frederick Bronski, played by Mel Brooks, is asked to act like a Nazi Colonel in order to fool a Polish spy for the Nazis. And in the film, he manages to do so. At the end of the scene he exclaims, “I fooled them … I gave the greatest performance of my life and no one was there to see it”.

In the gospel for today, we see the greatest act of humankind being played out and nobody was there to see it. In the backwater town of Nazareth, the angel Gabriel was sent to a very young Mary. Most probably she was just around 13 or 14 years of age, when she, who represents all the human beings that ever lived, was asked by the angel if she would agree with God’s plan or not. The whole salvation history which was thousands of years in the planning has boiled down to the decision of one girl if she is generous enough to give her life for the sake of God’s plan to save all humankind. And all of this happened without anybody to see it except Mary and the angel Gabriel.

Mary is preparing herself to live out what an ordinary woman would live. That is, to marry Joseph, since she is already betrothed to him, then have a few children and be a good mother and a housewife. And living in an unknown village, most probably, that would be the life the Mary would prefer. But God had other plans, she was to be the mother of the Son of God. She was to bring into the world the child who was destined to die in order that all of us might live. And if you were Mary, that responsibility would have been mind-boggling!

And yet, when this was announced by the angel, Mary only had one clarification; “how can this be since I’m a virgin?”. The angel explained how everything would come about and most probably after a long breath, Mary said those words that would start the plan of God prepared since the beginning of Creation, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word”.

This momentous event that all believers were waiting for thousands of years for is not just a prayer or a dream it is now a reality. And it all depended on the answer of a young teenager. Many theologians have posed the question of the unlikely possibility of Mary saying “No”. God may have given Mary the gift of being immaculately conceived but what God did not take away was her free will. And yet, Mary forgoes all her plans for herself and totally lets God take control of her life. Mary may not understand everything that is happening to her or will happen to her but she was generous enough to be a part of God’s great plan of salvation for all of us.

I remember when we were doing our retreat in preparation for our Final Vows, I told my fear to our Retreat Master during one of my spiritual directions. I said, “I realise that after everything and all the evaluations that I’ve gone through, I’m really pleased to be recommended to profess my Final Vows and yet I feel so unworthy on so great a privilege”. My Retreat Master replied, “We know that nobody is really worthy of this privilege. But what the Lord is asking of us is to be generous enough to say, ‘Yes’ to his call to follow him.” And I did and until now I still feel unworthy of such a privilege and yet I know that the Lord has been very patient and most probably glad that I said ‘Yes’.

Each of us is called by the Lord to follow him in one way or the other. Most, if not all of us, would feel unworthy and would have the temptation of doing something else and following our own will instead of God’s and yet God continues to invite us to trust him, that if we allow ourselves to be used by God we will be genuinely happy for the rest of our lives.

That’s why the invitation of God continues every day. The question is not about whether we are worthy or not, it is all about whether we are generous or not to say YES to his will.