Lectio Divina: Fourth Sunday of Advent - Cycle B

on 21 Dec, 2023
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Paris (France), Sr. ANNE LÉCU, December 24, 2023.- Let the angel go.



Gospel according to Saint Luke (Luke 1: 26-38)

“ In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.”

The calendar this year shows that we have only three weeks to celebrate Advent and that just before Christmas, the day before, the liturgy gives us the Gospel of the Annunciation to read. Mary, very young and upset, nevertheless welcomes what she neither knows nor understands, the crazy promise of an angel who announces to her that in her flesh, the Word of God himself will take flesh and become a little child.

Perhaps we should stay there with her incomprehension, not wanting to move on too quickly to something else, to the birth of Jesus, to the gifts, to the party. Mary hears that “nothing is impossible with God”, and she accepts it. It is not certain that she understands where this will take her. And then the angel leaves.


We sometimes have luminous hours in our lives when something of God seems to be inscribed in our flesh, without us understanding much. But, after that, the angel leaves, and it's another story to return to the ordinary of days and live on this promise without trembling.
Marie will experience humiliation, she says so in the Magnificat, gossip, no doubt. And yet, once the angel is gone, she will live in faith, in the night, and protect the promise of God who takes flesh in her.


On this Christmas Eve, help us Lord to know how to protect in us and in this world, the promise you have made to us. The Word continues to be born when we work towards more justice and truth, including when we know nothing of the fruit of our works, when the angel has left.


“Have no fear. You have found favor with God.”