Wednesday 20 December 2017

About Today Readings

Advent Season of Creation.

Isaiah 7:10-14. Psalm 23(24):1-6. Luke 1:26-38.

Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory – Psalm 23(24):1-6.

‘I am the handmaid of the Lord.’



In today’s Gospel, I was struck by Mary’s response at the annunciation; “she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be” (Luke 1:29).

At the birth of Jesus Mary responds to all that had been seen and heard. Luke describes her response; “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). The journey of faith as depicted in Mary is not one where blind obedience is either asked or expected. God’s word must be pondered and tossed about in a dynamic and honest fashion. It also seems evident from the scriptures that when these gifts are not “held together” (an alternative translation of ‘pondered’ from Greek) or pondered (such as later we hear of Herod’s response to the perplexing mystery – the beheading of John) then one can turn away from revelation and the invitation to become actively part of incarnating grace. Jesus lost and found in the Temple provides more evidence of Mary’s faith journey. “His mother treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51).

Throughout the infancy narrative Mary has been portrayed as one who is engaged in dialogue and reflection on the meaning of God’s word as it is encountered in her life. In contrast to yesterday’s Gospel where Zechariah does not believe God’s word at first and becomes mute, Mary as the model disciple shows us how to respond. I imagine “holding together or pondering” words and meanings involves skills in listening, discerning and responding as individuals and community and seems to be the way God works from the very beginning of time. It reminds me of the word ‘Kanyirninpa’ an indigenous word from Australia’s Western Desert people (not easily translated into English) that combines physical, emotional and spiritual sustaining, loving and nurturing as holding. Do I respond to what is life giving in my life? Do I follow the model of Mary and take time to ‘hold together and ponder’? Listening deeply to my Creator God, reflecting and pondering seems to be the first step in discipleship. This is something I believe our Indigenous brothers and sisters have refined over thousands of years.


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