2017 – Cycle B
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Psalm 89; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38
“The angel Gabriel was sent from God…” [Luke 1: 26]
Does that opening phrase sound familiar to you from last Sunday’s Gospel?
It should be a phrase that is quite familiar to us from numerous biblical situations.
“The angel Gabriel was sent from God…”
“A man named John was sent from God.” [John 1:6]
“God sent Nathan [the prophet] to David….” [2 Samuel 12:1]
“Jesus said, “Go on your way; I am sending you like lambs among wolves.”” [Luke 20:3]
“Now, go Moses! I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt.” [Exodus 3:10]
“So [Barnabas and Saul], sent forth by the holy Spirit…sailed to Cyprus.” [Acts 13:4]
“The people to whom I am sending you, [Ezekiel], are obstinate and stubborn.” [Ezekiel 2:4]
“See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way…” [Exodus 23:20]
“[Jesus] said to them, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”” [John 20:21]
Have we ever considered that one of the activities of God is to send out angelic and human beings with a mission to others?
Have you considered that God still does engage in that activity and you and I are participants?
One of the names we Catholics give to this act of worship we are participating in right now is, the Mass. It is a term derived from the last words of the Mass when it was prayed in Latin, “Ite missa est”. It literally means, “Go, you are sent”. God sent the angel Gabriel, the prophets, Moses, his Only-Begotten Son. Jesus sent the Twelve. For the term, “apostle” means “a person sent on a mission”.
So our act of worship ends with each of us being sent on a mission. “Ite missa est”.
As the feast of Christmas is literally breaking in upon us; a season when angels are sent to shepherds in fields, when stars and dreams are sent to far off magi, when magi are sent to kings and peoples; we might ask, to whom are we being sent?
Christmas is a season filled with expectations and memory; with joy and holiday cheer. For some among us it is filled with sorrow and a burden for others. There is someone out there to whom you and I are being sent. Who will be sitting around your Christmas dinner tables? Who will you meet when you visit a home during these holy days? What unexpected encounter will be an opportunity for which God has sent you or me to speak?
And, what are we to say?
Whether we are called to give testimony, like John. Announce good news to someone, like the archangel Gabriel. Challenge a group or a person, like the prophets. Give someone direction or guard and protect them, like the angels. Speak truth whether we will be listened to or not.
What are we to say? Trust the Holy Spirit. We each will know when it is time. Jesus has promised us. And Jesus has assured us we will be given by the Holy Spirit the words to speak. To assist us we are given sacred food from this table. Food and drink for that specific journey. The journey of being sent out on a mission.
“The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth…”