4th Sunday in Advent, Year B
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
December 21, 2014
Today we hear about King David and Mary, two people very much interested in doing God’s Will but come from two very different perspectives. God made them both great.
David was chosen by God to be king. Saul was the first king but he was not a good king. David was not perfect but a much better king than Saul. David knew he needed the Lord’s help. David knew how much the Lord had done for him. He had a great palace while God dealt in the Ark in a simple tent.
For David, it seemed obvious to him that he needed to build a magnificent house for the Lord. Even though it seemed obvious, always wanting to do what God wanted, David asked Nathan the prophet what he thought. He too thought it a great idea but both David and Nathan were thinking in human terms.
That night, the Lord spoke though Nathan to say no, it is not for David to be my house. It will be David’s heir. David listens and follows God’s Will.
David is proactive about what he does and eager to act. We see a different way in Mary. Mary too was made great by the Lord but she was not looking to do anything great. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary in a small town called Nazareth to tell her that she has chosen to be the mother of Jesus, the heir that was promised to David long ago.
Mary is dismayed by Gabriel’s appearance. Who is she that an angel would appear to her? When told she is to be the mother of Jesus, she questions how this can be since she has had no relations with a man.
Her question is not a statement of doubt. It is a question based on biology. She knows for a woman to become pregnant, she must be with a man.
Gabriel’s answer? It is by the Holy Spirit that she will conceive. In terms of biology, this is no answer. Mary does not demand a biological answer. An answer of faith is enough for her.
We have questions. We seek answers. Does this mean we doubt our faith? We are taught doubt is a bad thing but we need to make a distinction of what leads us to question. What are we willing to accept as an answer? Do we ask from a human perspective or faith?
Our questions almost always start from a human perspective because our questions normally come what goes on in our human lives. Do we demand answers that answer our questions in a human way or do we accept answers of faith?
Mary accepted an answer of faith.
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Summa Theologiae, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible!”
Being people of faith means realizing that we aren’t going to have all the answers. Being people of faith means we are willing to trust in God when we don’t have the answers.
How do we ask the question?
David was headstrong and eager to do God’s Will. Sometimes he got ahead of God’s plan but was always willing to do God’s will. Mary was quiet and sought a simple live but gave herself to God’s will.
Do you see some of David in you? Do you see some of Mary in you?
We probably need some of both. We need courage and confidence to act but we must first always see the Lord’s will. May we always profess as Mary did, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to be according to your word.”