25 March 2019 — Third Monday of Lent [The Annunciation]
It is often the case that humanity has to confront reality. Humanity is quite foolish. When confronted by its own folly, humanity tries to hide it in so many ways. While searching for knowledge and wisdom, it analyzes and categorizes. Humanity can only be so knowledgeable and so wise. True knowledge and wisdom comes from the one who created everything, including us. Part of the issue may be that we expect God to be predictable. Somehow, we seem to think that we are capable of understanding God. Perhaps that is the legacy of the decision made in the Garden of Eden. Faith is often not understanding, but accepting anyway.
Elizabeth and Mary were in that exact situation. They didn’t completely understand, but they trusted God anyway. It probably seems strange that in the midst of Lent to talk about the Announcement of Jesus’ birth, but timing is pretty close (though not exact). While on the journey to the cross, we include the beginning. There is indeed an echo of a beginning in the end. Lent is the journey to the cross, which is basically the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth. On the other hand, the cross along with the Resurrection is the beginning of a completely new chapter in regards to a relationship with God. Why not talk about the announcement of the coming Messiah. Oh, right, God moved (again) in a way that humanity couldn’t just categorize and analyze. The announcement of Jesus, along with his birth was not “how it was supposed to be”. God broke the rules, again. The rules? Human understanding and wisdom that is far short of God.
The author Hebrews recognizes that humanity often doesn’t get it. The author reflects on the sacrificial system that is so superficial that it ignores the whole point: relationship with God. The sacrificial system was never intended to be a “check this as done” system, but an orientation to God that was really to recognize the distance that man had put between itself and God. In its quest to categorize and analyze, humanity destroyed the wisdom that God had presented.
1) When was the first time that you recognized that God did not respond the way you expected or were taught to expect?
2) Why is it important to remember that our wisdom is not God’s wisdom?
3) What does the announcement of Jesus’ coming and the journey to the cross teach you about God’s wisdom?