Here’s hoping all of you are having a joyful and blessed ADVENT as you prepare yourself and your loved ones in hope to celebrate our Savior’s birth at Christmas. We are already on the 4th Sunday of ADVENT and this last Sunday always places our focus directly upon Mary and her role in the history of salvation. Mary always brings a certain humanness to our Christmas story, a sense of tender warmth, love, and wonder on how God can work through us. If not for Mary, “the Word would not have become flesh!” Mary then, really sets the tone for our own attitude of openness we should have as we welcome the child, Jesus, at his birth. Our gospel this weekend tells us of the great story of the angel who announces the virgin birth. With this in mind, I would like to present to you the amazing parallels and yet great differences between our Blessed Virgin Mary at the Annunciation and that of Eve in the Garden of Eden at the Temptation.
Beginning with the early Church Fathers, they soon recognized the marvelous similarities and yet amazing contrasts between Mary and Eve. The parallels are obvious: Both were women; both were virgins; both were alone when approached by an angel; both were promised something glorious should they cooperate with what was spoken to them; both stood at the dawn of creation (Eve at the beginning of the earthly creation and Mary at the new heavenly creation.) The contrasts (or differences) are also very obvious: one was an angel of falsehood and doom, the other an angel of truth and goodness; one was eager to hear the evil spirit’s suggestions, while the other (Mary) was “troubled” and so reflected on what was said; one said “No!” to God, the other (Mary) said, “Yes!;” one brought death to all, the other ushered in new life for everyone!
It’s these amazing similarities and yet differences between these two very important women that are responsible for us as Catholics to call Mary, “The New Eve” or “The Second Eve,” or “The New Mother of the Living” as it is translated. What a wonderful thing to contemplate as we approach the great holiday we call Christmas! Mary’s openness, honesty, peace and willingness reflect upon the mystery of God in Jesus should be a great inspiration for us as we repeat those famous words of hers, “Be it done unto me, according to thy word.” With that, a whole new set of circumstances was put in motion as God’s Son would become one of us!
In these last days in preparation for Christmas, let’s allow the words of Mary to echo in our minds and hearts and be our own despite these challenging Covid times we live in. And let’s also remember what the angel said as he departed from Mary after her willingness to put her life in God’s will and plan: “Nothing is impossible with God!” May these words also be set deeply within our ADVENT minds and hearts. ADVENT peace, everyone!
Fr. LeRoy Scheierl