Is 7:10-14; Ps 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; Lk 1:26-38
“O Clavis David: O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people to freedom.”
What can open the human heart? How can anyone gain access to the depths of a person? Perhaps the Key of David can give us access to the very center of our lives. The Key of David is a key of power. It controls access to the gate of Heaven. It breaks down the prison walls of death. It brings us out of darkness and the shadow of death. This key of power can lead us out of our captivity and into freedom. What the Key of David is for the royal family, the desire to see the face of God is for the human heart. The psalm today identifies us as a people that love the Lord and seek the face of the God of Jacob. Indeed, the earth belongs to the LORD; everyone and everything is held in his ever-creating hand. The LORD has founded the mighty oceans and the rushing rivers. All creation reveals the creative hand of the Father; the works of the LORD attract our hearts. Such beauty catches our hearts and stops us in our tracks so that we gaze with awe and wonder. This initial attraction to the loving Creator gives birth to a new and surprising desire to go up the mountain of the LORD. How do we get closer to the LORD whose creative love attracts us to desire to climb the mountain of the LORD? How can we climb so high? Only with clean hands and pure heart do we move closer to the LORD. We have no time or energy to devote to idols. Indeed, we have time only for blessing, justice, and salvation from our God. If this desire fills our hearts, then the name Immanuel makes our hearts leap. Such Advent rejoicing reaches a fever pitch as we listen to this gospel of the Annunciation. Indeed, we dare to open our hearts to the power and presence of the LORD as we hear the angel speaking to Mary, “for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Our Advent Prophet, Isaiah, is sent to the not so faithful king of Judah, Ahaz. Isaiah pleads with King Ahaz to ask for a sign from God, “Let it be deep as the nether world or high as the sky!” Ahaz pretends to be pious and demurs to Isaiah—I really don’t want to tempt the LORD—I don’t want the LORD to be upset with me. I’ll let him give the sign he wants and when he wants to give it. After all, who am I to ask for such a favor from the King of Kings? Isaiah expresses the very weariness of God himself when he says, “O listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary men, must you also weary my God!?” Just like Ahaz, we cannot pull the wool over the Lord’s eyes. He knows why we do not consult him, or his prophet. The LORD knows that we don’t really want a sign from him. Then we could not use the excuse, “God has nothing to say to me.” Indeed, the LORD has given the definitive sign for Ahaz and for all people. It is the sign of a virgin with a child, and his name is Immanuel. Can there be a more convincing sign? Now, we know beyond the shadow of a doubt; the LORD desires to be with us with a greater energy than we have ever desired anything. Indeed, it is God’s own desire for loving union with us that opens wide our hearts!
The heart of the Virgin Mary is wide open to the will of God and she listens to the voice of Gabriel. At first Mary’s heart is troubled as she pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The Archangel speaks to her heart, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Then the startling news filled her heart with the greatest joy possible. Still, Mary’s heart ponders, how can I bear a son if I have no husband? Again the Archangel wants to put Mary’s heart at ease. When he says, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you: therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” Eternity and humanity meet here in the womb of the Virgin. The Eternal Son of God becomes one with humanity by taking on a new nature and a new name, Jesus. Indeed, God became man so that we might become one with God in the very heart of the Virgin Mother. Indeed, nothing is impossible for God.