December 21, 2014
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Gospel Lk 1:26-38
God depends on you. Big time.
It is easy to see how desperately you depend on God—and rightly so. God is your sustainer, and everything in your life comes from him. Nothing is more freeing than the quiet acceptance that you are not in total control of your life and that you have a God to turn to in times of desperate need. And nothing gives more joy to God than running to you, meeting you halfway, and showering you with generous measures of his blessings. But God depends on you, too, and sometimes with as much desperation and longing as you have for him. God depends on you not as the desert needs the rain, not as the morning needs the sunrise. In truth, God can do without you. After all, God is God.
Instead, it is this: God depends on you as a lover longs for his beloved. Not as an imperative, therefore, but as a yearning, a wooing, a waiting for what is desperately sought. God, in depending on you, aches for your response. God waits with great anticipation for your ‘yes.’ God, in other words, is always courting you. As a result, God throws himself into a situation that is fraught with uncertainty, because, as the sacrament of courting goes, the other can always say ‘no’ to the lover’s initiative. The other’s freedom allows for such a painful rejection. Does it not sound scandalous that God, who is the above all, should allow himself to be vulnerable to uncertainty and the possibility of denial? But such is the way of genuine love, for the freedom that allows the other to say ‘no’ is the same freedom that allows her to say ‘yes.’ If love’s response were to be genuine, it ought to be given with and in the spirit of freedom.
In sending the archangel to offer to Mary the singular privilege of bearing God’s only begotten Son, God was not imposing a command on the young girl. God did not threaten Mary with punishment. Instead, God was wooing her, respecting her freedom to choose to accept God’s offer. God waited for Mary’s response; God depended on her to make possible the plan of salvation. Could God have effected salvation in another way? Perhaps. But we are wading through testy theological waters here. Could God have chosen other women for the job? Certainly, and there was nothing about this Mary from Nazareth that made her stand out from the rest—except her pure and courageous heart.
God chose Mary, courted her, placed his trust on her—and waited, experiencing a lover-in-the-waiting’s butterflies-in-the stomach sensation of excitement, uncertainty, trust, and fear put together. A poem about the Trinity captures this:
Kung sakaling maunahan siya ng takot
at sagot niya’y ‘hindi’, hahanap tayo ng ibang paraan
sangkatauhan lang ay ating mabawi.
Ngunit puso niya’y malinis at pag-ibig niya’y dalisay.
Ang takot nati’y naiibsan ng pagsinta niyang tunay.
Mary’s yes was more than an assent; it was a response that demanded tremendous love and faith. ,Think about it: are you not being courted by God, too? Is God not waiting for you, every day, to choose him?
Does God not depend on you to transcend what is convenient and easy, in order for you to take a more difficult path—but a path that, nonetheless, brings you closer to him: the path of deeper humility, of greater understanding toward others, of more genuine selflessness? An encouraging word, a kind gesture, the willingness to forgive others and yourself—are not these your small ‘yeses’ to God? What about the bigger ones?
Your lover waits. He depends on you. Big time.
God and our daily choices/responses
Bro. Cosme Carlo A. Lacang