No consultation just communication – Tuesday, 4th Week of Advent – Isaiah 7:10-14/Luke 1:26-38
“And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you will name him Jesus.”
We live in a world where any communication, even remotely sensed as dictatorial or authoritative is frowned upon. Nations that are run by military juntas, communism or even those that are pseudo democratic are approached with caution; for consultation is nonexistent and a demand is made to fall in line. The world is sensitive to the way we communicate with each other. Language has become more inclusive, less judgmental and stereotypical and extremely gender sensitive. Communication, especially in social environment demands sensitivity and politeness; you could lose your job over one callous misplaced comment.
Weigh all of this with a communication that happened 2000 years ago. It lacked all the social niceties of the modern world. The privacy of a young virgin was breached. There is no evidence that a door was knocked on or a polite request was made to enter and not even an appointment taken. What followed next was shocking by modern demands of a courteous communication; a message was communicated and consultation was not even a consideration. There was no negotiation nor was time given to weigh the pros and cons. There was no attempt to bring all parties on board and no wider consultation with Mary’s betrothed; who it almost seems had no choice in the matter. Mary’s perplexities were not addressed by a committee of human resource personnel. There was but a brief communique; a statement of intent, if you may.
Yes, Mary was told she need not be afraid but nothing after that sounded very reassuring; on the contrary very demanding with a to-do list attached. “And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son.” Mary had just two lines in terms of a response. The first was a clarification, “how can this be since I am a virgin?” The second was a statement of acceptance, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word.”
While the ‘fiat’ or the ‘yes’ of Mary is made much of, as if it was the obvious answer to the worlds best job offer, the reality was quite different. Yet in a world that weighs its options and chooses what is best for us, here was a simple fourteen or sixteen odd year-old girl who took no offence of how she was asked or by whom she was asked. She never asked for a contract or demanded to see the fine print. There was a ‘demand’ made by God and she accepted it blindly, trusting in the one who made the request rather than getting lost in myriad details of the plan that would eventually unfold.
The problem with many faith believers is that we treat faith-based activity like we approach a job prospect. We want to see the offer at hand, check the fine print, run over possibilities, weigh options, get feelers from the market and so on. The call of God cannot be analyzed under a microscope. It demands a faith in him knowing that the plan comes from him and he has the blueprint carved it the palm of his hand.
Fr Warner D’souza