The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.” (Lk 1:26-30)
Do you remember waiting to be picked?
When we first began interacting with neighbors as children, we would wait anxiously to be picked to play games. We always hoped that we would get chosen for the “right” team.
When we began school, we would hope to be picked by our teachers to be the hall monitor, the blackboard cleaner, and a whole host of other “jobs” that made us feel special.
As we became older, we hoped to be picked by the college of our choice.
After college, we hoped to be picked to work by the business that we had longed to be a part of.
All along the way, we also nursed a fear: what if we were picked and failed?
Being chosen can be very frightening, even if we longed for it. Mary prayed fervently, as did any good Israelite of her time, for the deliverance of her people. She probably never dreamed that she would be picked to be a part of salvation history.
The angel’s message would have generated fear and anxiety and confusion and a whole host of other emotions which probably also included excitement and hope. The angel’s response to Mary’s fear was desperately needed: “Do not be afraid.”
God has picked each and every one of us to be His heralds in a world that needs to hear His message. We may be frightened or confused. The message from the angel applies to us as well this Fourth Sunday of Advent: “Do not be afraid.”
Do more than entertain God’s request. Be like Mary and respond faithfully and affirmatively.
FAITH ACTION: Mary was given a choice and so are we. Ask God to give you the grace to say “yes” to His will this day.