22/23. 12. 2007 - 4th Sunday of Advent – Reflection
The Christmas stories in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke are not meant to be literal history, like, let us say, detailed descriptions of the Battle of Gettysburg. Rather they are theological stories designed to tell us that with the birth of Jesus a new phase of the history of humankind had begun. The stories may not be true in all their details but they are True in the sense that they disclose to us a sudden, dramatic, and total transformation in the human condition. As John Shea says in his book “Starlight”, we discover at Christmas, not only the light that is God and the light that Jesus came to bring to the world, but the light that is and has always been in us because we are creatures who share in the light of God, beings in whom the spark of God's light and love has always shone. Christmas reveals to us that like Mary and Joseph we too can be the light of the world and that indeed our own frail and often dim lights are not completely discontinuous from the light of Jesus, from the starlight that shone at Bethlehem.
And there is something more in this fourth Sunday of Advent to think about.
Mary is the perfect disciple. And She is Mother. As the ever-virgin Mother, she gave birth to the Incarnate Word, but as the perfect disciple, she gave birth to all of the sons and daughters of Jesus Christ. She is always with us as our Mother. I would like to conclude this Sunday Reflection with one of my favorite prayers which has given me much consolation throughout all the years of my priesthood.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.