Advent 4: Sunday, December 21

Readings: Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26  / Romans 16:25-27   /   Luke 1:26-38

Advent 4: In the last week of Advent we concentrate on love. The Gospel reading this week tells a story of love: the love of God in coming to earth through Mary’s womb in the form of baby—and Mary’s love for God which produced these renowned words: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

But this love is daily challenged by what Brueggemann calls our neurotic need to secure our lives by increasing levels of multitasking. In the relentless pursuit of various commodities, we can’t even fully stop our frenetic activity to worship God.

“Multitasking”, according to Brueggemann is “the drive to be more than we are, to control more than we do and to extend our power and our effectiveness.” Such practice “yields a divided self, with full attention given to nothing.”

Read that definition of multitasking again—and compare it to the single-mindedness of Mary: what do you learn about yourself?

Love may seem like a tired or vague term. But if love directs the will, it is actually a robust and crucial word. For instance, Jesus said: “you can’t serve two masters…you will love one and despise the other.” What is the current state of your loves? To what “master” is it oriented?

A perhaps surprising antonym for love is covetousness. For, as Brueggemann says, “coveting generates mistrust and sets neighbor and against neighbor.” On the contrary, a heart of restful love makes us a good neighbor. Do you find your wants, your desires or your cravings making you a less than loving person? What might you work on to adjust this reality?