A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Preparing a house

There is a wonderful play on words in today’s first reading (2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16)

Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?’
....I will.... establish a house for you.

In the first instance, the word “house” means “shelter” (indicating the Temple) and in the second, “house” means “family of descendents.” This latter meaning is also used in today’s Gospel (Luke 1:26-38).

But there is another sense of the ancient Hebrew word that means “place” or “receptacle” and I cannot but help think of that sense as I read today’s Gospel account of the Annunciation.

David’s immediate son Solomon built the earthly house of the Lord, but in this other sense, the Lord himself has prepared for the ultimate Son of David a very special “house:” Mary.

God has prepared for himself a very special “receptacle:” Mary.

If you think this is a “stretch,” recall these verses from Isaiah (66:1-2):

Thus says the LORD:
The heavens are my throne,

the earth is my footstool.

What kind of house can you build for me;
what is to be my resting place?

My hand made all these things
when all of them came to be, says the LORD.

This is the one whom I approve:
the lowly and afflicted man
who trembles at my word.

Indeed, in a way different from Mary (and yet still in a very real way), God wishes to establish us as “houses” – as “receptacles” for himself.

The Lord is on his way. Christmas is near.

The Lord is on his way. Behold, I am coming soon, says the Lord.

The Lord is on his way. He wants us to receive him.

We need to get ourselves ready, with the help of his grace.

We need to recognize our lowliness. We need to learn from our afflictions.

We need to tremble at the word of God: tremble with fear, tremble with love.

God wants us to be true and good houses for himself.

Be prepared