We get used to things that we do often; used also to the words we repeat day after day.
The words we speak during our liturgical celebrations are no exception and…
sad to say, all too often we repeat them with our minds busy with all kinds of other thoughts.
During the Eucharistic celebration (the Mass) more than once, the priest tells us:
“The Lord be with you.”
We respond immediately – or at least, most of us do –
“And also with you.”
These 5 words addressed to us by the celebrant sound somehow like a wish,
a prayerful one but still a wish.
I know a few priests who rather say: “The Lord IS with you.”
These are the very words with which the angel Gabriel greeted Mary.
We hear them again in today’s gospel text (Luke 1:26-38).
I wonder if Mary was surprised?… Amazed?… Delighted?…
Wondering what would follow this greeting?…
Did she truly believe the message these words expressed?
The first time I heard the words repeated during Mass, I was suddenly made aware of what was said… to ME!
And, for some time after, I kept repeating silently to myself: The Lord is with me…
Perhaps this is the purpose of the period of Advent: to realize that God is with us –
yes, already with us!
We need not wait for the Nativity scene to make us believe it.
The reproduction of the Holy Family in a stable, or a cave, or any kind of shelter, will not make this more real.
It will only be a reminder of who God is now and for ever: EMMANUEL – GOD-WITH-US.
Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/4e-dimanche-de-lavent-annee-b-2020/