Livonia, Michigan

From Fr. Tom

Happy Fourth and last Sunday of Advent!
Today’s readings remind us that Jesus is reborn every day in ordinary people living ordinary lives, who have the willingness to respond to God’s call and the openness to do God’s will. They suggest that Christmas should inspire us to carry out God’s word as Mary, in perfect, loving obedience to His will, with cheerful kindness and unselfish generosity has done.
Let me begin with a story. One day, nursery school kids were preparing a Christmas play. Little Cynthia did not like the part she was assigned to play. She wanted to change parts with her friend Monica. When the teacher asked her why, she answered, “Because it is easier to be an angel than to be the mother of Christ.”
The little girl is certainly right. To be the mother of Christ is no light matter. During the entire season of Advent, especially during the last few days, in the daily liturgy of the word we hear and learn how difficult it was for Mary to become the Mother of God.
Mother of Christ is a title we usually reserve for Mary. But Mary is the mother of Christ in two senses. She is the mother of Christ in a physical sense because she carried Jesus in her womb and gave birth to him. This is an unrepeatable event and an honor that no other human being could share with her. But she is also the mother of Christ in a spiritual sense. In a spiritual sense, the role of being the mother of Christ is available to all Christians. All of us, men, women, and children can, and through our baptism, we should become mothers of Christ.
The idea of Christians being called to be mothers of Christ is very common among Christian mystics. The Dominican priest mystic, Meister Eckhart, said that God made the human soul for her to bear the divine Son, and that when this birth happens it gives God greater pleasure than the creation of heaven and earth.
To become mothers of Christ we need to make the prayer of Mary our own: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word”.
This prayer of Mary has been known as the world’s greatest prayer. It is the prayer that brought God down from heaven to dwell in the soul and body of a lowly young woman. It is the prayer that brought about the greatest event in human history, God becoming human in Jesus. It is a prayer that changed the course of human history forever some 2000 years ago. This prayer is very different from what has been called the world’s most common prayer, the prayer in which we try to get God to do our will. The world’s most common prayer says, “My will be done,” while the world’s greatest prayer says, “Thy will be done.”
Yes, little Cynthia was right. It is not easy to be the mother of Christ.
But in today’s gospel, Mary shows us how. It is in hearing God’s word and saying yes to God, even when God’s will seems to go against all our plans and hopes for the future.
As Christmas draws near, Mary reminds us that the best Christmas, in fact the only true Christmas, is that Christ be born not in the little town of Bethlehem but in the inner sanctuary of our hearts. As Christmas draws near, Mary reminds us that the best Christmas gift is Jesus himself. So, let Jesus be born in your hearts and share the Gift of Jesus with others!
I am looking forward to KEEP CHRIST in Christmas, to celebrate the mystery of His incarnation with you very soon. You are all invited!!!

With prayers,

Fr. Tom