Cycle B 4th Sunday of Advent

 2 Sam. 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Rom. 16:25-27; Lk. 1:26-38

Today, we reflect upon the profound encounter between the angel Gabriel and the young Mary, a moment that unfolds with a divine greeting and a mysterious announcement. In the midst of uncertainty, Mary's response stands as a beacon of surrender and obedience. Gabriel's words, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you," might have perplexed Mary, yet in her pondering, a willingness to embrace the unfathomable emerged. "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God," the angel reassured, unveiling a divine plan that surpassed human understanding.

As Mary questioned, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" the angel's response revealed the extraordinary nature of God's plan - the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and the Most

High would overshadow her. In the face of the incomprehensible, Mary's response echoes through the ages, "Let it be with me according to your word." This was not just a passive acceptance but a profound surrender, a yielding of her life to the divine will.

Turning to the scriptures, we find echoes of Mary's surrender in the lives of biblical figures. Abraham, the father of faith, demonstrated radical obedience in his willingness to sacrifice Isaac. Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, "Not my will, but yours be done," culminating in the ultimate surrender on the cross for our salvation.

In J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings." There is a character Frodo Baggins. He is  a humble and unsuspecting individual. He is chosen for a monumental task. Frodo is entrusted with the responsibility of carrying the One Ring to Mount Doom to destroy it and save Middle-earth. Despite his initial reluctance and the overwhelming challenges he faces, Frodo willingly accepts the mission. Frodo's journey is marked by selflessness, courage, and an unwavering commitment to the greater good. 

In Mary's response of "Let it be with me according to your word" she accepts great challenges for the sake of humanity.

The moral lessons gleaned from Mary's response are clear. Humility is the key to surrendering to God's plans, and in our humility, we open the door for God's extraordinary work. As we trust in God's sovereignty, we can find peace in knowing that His plans, though sometimes beyond our comprehension, are always filled with purpose and love.

One inspiring example of an ordinary individual who accepted God's calling and surrendered completely to His will is the story of Jim Elliot. Jim Elliot was an American Christian missionary who, along with four other missionaries, sought to bring the message of Christ to the Huaorani people of Ecuador in the 1950s.

Jim and his companions faced numerous challenges, including linguistic barriers and the potential danger of reaching out to a tribe known for its hostility. Despite the risks, Jim Elliot embraced the call to share the Gospel with the Huaorani people. He famously wrote in his journal, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Tragically, in 1956, Jim and his fellow missionaries were martyred by members of the Huaorani tribe. Instead of responding with anger or seeking revenge, Jim's wife, Elisabeth Elliot, and the other widows chose to continue the mission and eventually established positive relationships with the same tribe that had taken their husbands' lives. Through their unwavering commitment and forgiveness, the Gospel began to transform the Huaorani community.

Jim Elliot's surrender to God's calling, even to the point of sacrificing his life, resulted in a profound impact. His story became an inspiration to many, leading to a greater awareness of missions and a renewed commitment to sharing God's love, even in the face of adversity. The transformative power of Jim Elliot's surrender continues to resonate, reminding us of the potential for great change when ordinary individuals wholly yield to God's plan, saying, "Let it be done to me according to your word."

Mary's response resonates in our hearts today. In the face of uncertainty,  we should be able to echo her words, "Let it be with me according to your word.”

Accepting God's calling and surrendering to His will in today's world requires a deep and intentional commitment to faith, trust, and obedience. As we surrender our lives wholeheartedly to God, we will experience the greatness that comes from yielding to His divine purpose.