Fourth Sunday of Advent – Series C
Mary is such an interesting character in the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel. Luke clearly has spoken to her, and this is the story of Jesus’ birth told through her eyes. Even Luke’s otherwise very good Greek is reflects a simple Aramaic telling of this story in the first two chapters. He keeps the word order, rhythms, and cadences of Mary’s own language in here. (Matthew, on the other hand and for different reasons, seems to tell us this story through the eyes of Joseph.) Luke lets us see this through the eyes of a Jewish peasant girl from a nowhere village called Nazareth. How does God’s kingdom see this world? We see through the eyes of power, money, etc., but is that accurate or the best lens? Mary, visited by an angel, pregnant with a child by the Holy Spirit, greeted by a yet-unborn John the Baptist might just give us a better lens by which to view this world as God sees it. What is more, as Luke notices for us, she was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Mary’s words give those who seek earthly solutions a reason to pause and reconsider. As a realpolitik person, I am a capitalist. I am not a socialist, but Mary sounds a little like the socialism I deplore. But is she truly a socialist? Hardly. She is seeing another kingdom, God’s Kingdom, not some utopian socialist paradise. She sees a place where people are different, not simply the same people arranged into different power structures but still the same sinful people.