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The Gospel text appointed for this 4th Sunday is the Annunciation.  The story of the angel Gabriel's visitation to Mary to announce to her that she was "favoured" and would become Theotokis - the bearer of God.  Have you ever wondered why the angel's first words to Mary are not the typical "Do not be afraid"?  Why is Mary not afraid in the same way that Moses, Elizabeth and the shepherds are afraid when they encounter the divine messengers of God?  And what about this business of "favoured"...really?  Is it a favour to turn poor Mary's life upside down, to put her at very real risk of death if not ridicule and ostracization.

I'm also very interested in how "consent" works in this interchange between Mary and the Angel.  Gabriel is telling Mary what will happen but what we are focused on is Mary's gracious consent to do this thing that will place her in mortal risk.  Do you notice also that Mary has not gone out to seek God, Mary has not gone on a quest to accomplish a great thing for the Lord.  God has come to find her...how telling for us for I think, sometimes in our haste to seek God out we rush right past the angel appearing at our front door.

Finally, I have been reflecting in this Advent season about how God does not sidestep the natural order of things.  God's choosing to come into the world in the same way that all people have from the beginning of time, is a proclamation, once again, that God's natural world is mozel tov!  Very Good! and worthy of respect, protection and redemption

https://youtu.be/YOxkQJwECPg