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It’s my joy to be back to writing after nearly a week of “technical difficulties.”

gabrielIn this morning’s Scripture readings there is a connection between Ahaz in the Hebrew Scriptures and Mary in Luke’s gospel, as both are confronted with messages from God. In the first, God tells Ahaz to ask for a sign from God. Ahaz refuses saying, “I will not ask. I will not tempt the Lord!” The next part of the conversation puts one in mind of a child saying, “Ask me what I have behind my back” or “Ask me what I did today.” Even if you refuse to ask, the child will tell you, and that’s exactly what happened with Ahaz. God said, “I’m going to tell you anyway!” and the message is a foreshadowing of the birth of Jesus. The gospel recounts the familiar conversation between Mary and the angel Gabriel, wherein Gabriel tells Mary (unbidden) that she is to be the mother of God’s Son. Unlike Ahaz, she does not refuse but she does question how it can happen since she has not had relations with a man. Gabriel’s explanation is certainly incredible but it ends with an assurance of what Mary must have already believed, because it caused her to assent to what was being asked of her. The angel said: “Nothing is impossible for God.”

Today is a good day to examine our willingness to assent to what is asked of us but also a day to ask for what we think we need from God. We must, however, be mindful in our asking of the fact that God knows what is good for us and what will keep us on our path toward God – even if our vision is cloudy in the asking. Willingness to surrender to God always trumps our personal will when dealing with God. Knowing that God is for us and will keep us close even in the most unthinkable events of our lives will guide us toward the maturity of asking the right questions.