The Beatles, Wisdom and Mother Mary

Our favorite ethernet homilies come courtesy of Fr Vallee–see his background. This is a good example of the type of insight he provides. As many times as I’ve heard the Gospel readings he quotes, I never thought of them the way he does in this homily.

A portion of his 4th Sunday of Advent homily:

II. Matthew’s Joseph and Luke’s Mary
But I think the Christmas story makes a really adequate argument that women tend to be a bit wiser than men, a bit more spiritually sensitive and open to the prompting of the spirit. Notice that, throughout Scripture, when angels appear to men one of two things tend to happen. Either, like Jacob, the man fights with the angel. Or, as with Job, the man gets involved in a argument with the angel. In Matthew’s version of the Annunciation, the whole thing takes place in a dream, as if Joseph would not believe such a thing if he were a awake. In Luke’s version, which we just read, the angel appears directly to Mary and she is wide awake. Apparently, unlike Joseph, Mary need not be asleep to talk with angels. But there is more….

Wisdom, my brothers and sisters, is not the same thing as intelligence or education. Wisdom is an openness to the spirit of God. Mary shows us what it looks like to be wise. Wisdom is a matter of the heart and the head. In fact, wisdom functions on the level of the soul which is deeper than emotions or thoughts. Wisdom unites thinking, feeling and the flesh. Intelligence is a perfection of the intellect. Wisdom is a perfection of the whole human being: head, heart and flesh. The Beatles were quoting Luke: “Let it be, Let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, Let it Be.” Let it be done to us even as the angels say.

Entire homily & Gospel reading are copied in full at end of post.

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Fr Vallee 12/21 Advent IV homily

I. Story
There is an old story of three men who were walking along the beach one day, when suddenly they found a lamp buried in the sand. They picked it up and began wiping it off, when suddenly a genie popped out and told them, “I’’ll grant each one of you one wish.”The first man said, “I’’d like to be 10 times smarter. “You are now ten times smarter,” said the genie. The second man said, “I’d like to be 100 times smarter.” “Wish granted,” said the genie, “you are now 100 times smarter. ”The third man said, “I’d like to be 1000 times smarter. “Wish granted,” said the genie…… “you are now a woman.” Women tend to like this joke better than men do.

II. Matthew’s Joseph and Luke’s Mary
I don’t know if it is necessarily true that women are a thousand times smarter than men. Of course, it would depend on what one means by intelligence and of course the particular women and men we are talking about. But I think the Christmas story makes a really adequate argument that women tend to be a bit wiser than men, a bit more spiritually sensitive and open to the prompting of the spirit. Notice that, throughout Scripture, when angels appear to men one of two things tend to happen. Either, like Jacob, the man fights with the angel. Or, as with Job, the man gets involved in a argument with the angel. In Matthew’s version of the Annunciation, the whole thing takes place in a dream, as if Joseph would not believe such a thing if he were a awake. In Luke’s version, which we just read, the angel appears directly to Mary and she is wide awake. Apparently, unlike Joseph, Mary need not be asleep to talk with angels. But there is more. Matthew’s version is all cut and dry. The angel merely convinces Joseph to take Mary as his wife and takes off. Luke’s version is filled with poetry and deep intimacy. The angel says to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will fill you and the power of God overshadow you. And so the child will be called God’s own son. Your cousin Elizabeth is also pregnant in her old age for nothing is impossible with God.” I think it purely delightful the angel Gabriel takes the time to share family gossip with Mary.

III. Much to learn from the women of Scripture
I don’t know that women are a thousand times smarter than men. But I do know this, all of us, men and women have much to learn from the Blessed Mother and her cousin Elizabeth. They do not immediately fight or argue. They have the maturity of deep wisdom, patience and openness to the spirit of God. Mary’s prayer is one of the more lovely declaration in all of sacred Scripture: “Let it be. Let it be done to me as you say. Let the spirit of God have it’s way with me.” Elizabeth recognizes this deep passion in her cousin and makes the virtue of Mary plain for all to see: “Blessed are you who believed that the promise of the Lord would be fulfilled.”

IV. Wisdom is a perfection of the whole human being
Wisdom, my brothers and sisters, is not the same thing as intelligence or education. Wisdom is an openness to the spirit of God. Mary shows us what it looks like to be wise. Wisdom is a matter of the heart and the head. In fact, wisdom functions on the level of the soul which is deeper than emotions or thoughts. Wisdom unites thinking, feeling and the flesh. Intelligence is a perfection of the intellect. Wisdom is a perfection of the whole human being: head, heart and flesh. The Beatles were quoting Luke: “Let it be, Let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, Let it Be.” Let it be done to us even as the angels say.
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Gospel of Luke 1: 26 – 38

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”
29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?”
35 And the angel said to her, “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.
36 And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

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About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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