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Thought for the week - 19 December

Sometimes, just sometimes, I feel I’ve just, well, had enough! You know what I mean: That last phone call, another demand, another sermon to write, another funeral. You know what I mean. We all come to the end of our tether sometimes. The danger then is that we can lose our temper, or at the least give an irritated response to something perfectly normal. (I dare say, after 17 years here some of you have surely been on the end of that from me – I never have from any of you of course!)

I can’t help thinking that Our Lady, Mary must have felt like that. I mean, there she is going about her business, getting ready for her wedding, when an angel turns up with the most incredible message. It’s a frightening message. It is a message that she knows will turn her life upside down – and not in a good way. What will her family say? What will Joseph say and do? Mary is hesitant to say the least, ‘How can this be?’ She asks, but in the end she agrees. What is her next move? It is to get out of there, away from the heat as it were, she goes off to her cousin Elizabeth.

But Mary doesn’t come out with a lot of complaints. Mary does what she always does, in scripture as well as good iconography, Mary points to Jesus.

Mary points to a Jesus who is her saviour

To a Jesus favours the lowly

To a Jesus who brings mercy

To a Jesus who gets alongside the weak and puts the powerful in their place

To a Jesus who feeds the hungry and shares the bounty of the rich

To a Jesus who keeps his promises for ever.

How we need our Jesus to reign in the hearts of those in power currently in our world, our country even.

We seem to live in a world where lies are the default rather than the truth, where obfuscation takes the place of open-ness, where the strong make the weak weaker and the hungry hungrier.

Mary trusted God to bring this about not by her, but through her, and despite all that it would mean for her she agreed, and she magnified God rather than her own needs.

Mary points to Jesus and she says yes to his will for her.

That’s a pretty good example for me, and I’m sure for you.

We shall not be asked to do such a thing as Mary did. But we can try to follow her example. We can try to say yes to God – even when we have reached the end of our tether.


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