Gospel Meditation – “Do not be afraid! You have found favor with God.”

December 24, 2023 –4th Sunday of Advent

Life is troubling. Who among us has not struggled with anxiety and difficulties, sometimes massive ones? I certainly have, as have many of my loved ones. If we do, does this mean that we don’t trust the Lord or just need to toughen up? 

I don’t think so. How encouraging for us anxious and troubled souls to hear Luke describe the Blessed Mother Mary in these words, “But she was greatly troubled at what was said.” An archangel has visited her. An inconceivable promise has been made to her. Her life has become wildly unpredictable, perhaps more so than any person before or since. The first point for us: the Lord is with her precisely when she is troubled. Her anxiousness and God’s presence are not mutually exclusive. Christianity is not about a trance-like robotic indifference. It’s about the presence of divine love. Even in — especially in — troubled circumstances. 

Our troubled soul can become our greatest treasure. What seems so troubling at first to Mary becomes the best possible thing, Jesus, the Savior and Lord, is now her son. All the difficulties and troubles remain, and yet her movement into the fullness of God is accelerated. What is troubling you right now? This scripture invites us now, this week, to hear the Lord’s messenger say to us what he said to Mary, “Do not be afraid! You have found favor with God.”       

— Father John Muir ©LPi

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