4th Sunday of Advent 2014 “How can this be?”

4th Sunday Advent 2014

My friends…..we have a problem!  In fact I think we may have several problems…

Or maybe as my Dad used to say, we don’t have a problem, we have an opportunity!  And believe me I am right here with you in this opportunity!  I find it as challenging and taxing and as troublesome in my life, some days more than others.

It revolves around the conversation between Gabriel and Mary in our Gospel today…

I would bet we all have had the opportunity to ask God the very same question that Mary so bravely asked Gabriel….

How can this be?

How can this be that my company is letting me go?

How can this be that my spouse or partner no longer wants to be with me?

How can this be that my child is struggling with addiction?

How can this be that I am dealing with my mental health or the mental health of others?

How can this be that my mom, dad, brother or sister, cousin, uncle best friend, has died?

How can this be that I have lost everything?

How can this be?

And then the even greater opportunity presents itself:

Do not be afraid….for nothing is impossible with God!

And we want to say, or scream or cry out….REALLY?

Because this situation certainly isn’t turning out the way I had planned or imagined it would turn out!

Because if nothing is impossible with God then why the hell am I dealing with this?

Really?  Because, if nothing is impossible with God then why was I in this accident, why did I lose my job, why did my loved one die, why?

And we are left, struggling with the silence, or fighting with the pious platitudes of our past or present.

Like if one more person says:  “Oh it must have been God’s will.”  I think I would scream!  The pious platitudes just don’t cut it in the Spiritual life.  Faith is much, much deeper than cliche’.

When those moments hit us, with their wallop of surprise,

And the tears flow, and the pain digs deep, and we scratch and claw our way through the darkness, tired, torn, bloodied and bruised, we discover something miraculous, we discover little by little that we are not alone!

All of a sudden, we touch the hand of another and together we keep digging, and then we find others in that same struggle, in that same darkness and simply the touch of their hand begins a spark of hope deep down in us and in them.

And together, those sparks begin to glow into hope and hope into faith and faith into joy and joy into peace and all of a sudden, sometimes months or years or decades later we find the glimmer of a smile on our face and the faces of others.

And we begin to realize that mystery really is a part of life, that others struggle, that even the holy ones, Mary, Joseph, Martha, and even Jesus, have been where we are, and that these experiences are part of every human experience.

And from that reality, in quiet stillness, in the tears, the hurt, the mystery, sometimes even almost imperceptibly, the spark of acceptance is born in our lives.

When acceptance is born, then we sit in the presence of our God, or we stand at the foot of the cross, or we sit holding the hand of another and we say…be it done to me as you say.

Not my will, but yours Oh God…

You see my friends….let us not make the mistake of putting on Scripture our own paradigm of how or when Mary’s “yes” came to be.  Scripture never says it was immediate, it never says even when Mary uttered those words…it may have been days, months, years or even decades later…

The encouragement of Scripture comes not from the time of Mary’s yes….it comes from the fact, that even she asked the question:

How can this be….and she struggled through the mystery as well….

In the end….her acceptance led to peace….

Maybe that is why we call Mary, the queen of Peace…

How can this be?

Let’s keep digging together and remember, nothing is impossible with God!


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