Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday word, 19 Dec 2007

Advent Wednesday3 (19 Dec 2007) Jdg 13. 2-7,24-25a; Ps 71; Lk 1. 5-25
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Vocations Reshaped

We are familiar with announcements. They give information: weddings and births deserve written announcements; others give information of different sorts. In Christianity announcements give more than information; they proclaim God and God’s desires for the sake of people. The proclamation parts of Christian annunciations involve more than the individuals receiving them.

Yesterday we heard Matthew recall Joseph’s annunciation, which proclaimed that Jesus would save his people from their sins. Luke recalled John the Baptizer would turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. Even the annunciation of Samson’s birth proclaimed that he would begin the deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can rightly be called the Deliverer, as King David called God, and quoted by St. Luke and St. Paul./1/ The Deliverer is the personal God of the scriptures.

Annunciations abound in the Old and New Testaments. They were always personal, that is, they happened to people. As they continued in the ancient world, a shift happened and we’ve heard it. I call it “from unnamed to named.”

Samson father was named: Manoah; but not his mother. Likewise John’s father was named: Zechariah; and so was his mother, Elizabeth. Likewise, the parents of Jesus, Joseph and Mary are mentioned in proclamations of his birth.

In pondering this shift “from unnamed to named,” I have felt more deeply convinced of God’s desire for a profoundly personal relationship with me, each of you and all people. Paradoxically the more personal God becomes, the more far-reaching a shaper of community God becomes in Jesus by their Spirit. By becoming enfleshed for us, Jesus reshaped human vocations in ways none of us may call private or undemanding. Our own annunciations --and each of us has one--welcome us to further deliver our world in the name of Jesus, empowered by his Spirit.
/1/ 2Samuel 22.2; Psalms 18.2; 40.17; 70.5; 144.2 (the Psalms have traditionally been attributed to David); Acts 7.35; Romans 11.26.
Wiki-image of the Tree of Jesse, of which Jesus is the flower, is in the public domain.

No comments: