We Light The Bethlehem Candle
The Bethlehem Candle on the Second Sunday of Advent symbolizes the Faith that makes the journey. Mary said Yes and Love became a Global Presence, revealing the road to Bethlehem. Joseph was with Mary in the birthing of the cosmic purpose and together they lead all creation to the Great Awakening.
Mary said Yes. The extraordinary information of the Annunciation Day needed someone to take it forward. The information came with an invitation and the invitation hung on the response of one woman. Like all of us, Mary is faced with the implications of saying Yes to love, of not knowing where love will take her. How can this be? We relate to this moment. Mary is puzzled, not everything is clear. It is trust in her primal relationship that holds Mary together and in this trust she faces the unknown and the unexpected. Like ourselves she doesn’t have answers and without answers she has the freedom of the prophet. As we revisit this moment of invitation in Advent 2020, we hear the life-changing call in our own hearts, the call to give birth to the Christ, to be love at the heart of the universe. Mary said Yes.
The journey for Mary was the journey of taking her child to the world. Her call is rooted in the ancient call of the prophets as she continues the unveiling of the pathway to the Word Made Flesh. From Nazareth to Judea she set out and went with haste to the hill country to tell Elizabeth. That’s what people do with Good News. They pass it on… The Incarnation was now in our hands and we were the bearers of the Light. When we say Yes to Love, Christmas begins.
As far back as 1984 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger identified Mary as the “remedy” for the challenges of the world today. The cardinal spoke of Mary as the woman who “shows us the proximity of God” a God “who can freely intervene in matter.” It is Mary, he says, who binds together “ in a living and indissoluble way the old and the new, People of God, Israel and Christianity, synagogue and Church.” As we journey again to Bethlehem, with Mary and Joseph, we see how two ordinary people “assure the faith its full human dimension.” Cardinal Ratzinger believes that the presence of Mary in our various theologies is essential lest faith becomes an abstraction and “an abstraction does not need a mother.” (Interview with Vittorio Messori, 1984)
On the Second Sunday of Advent 2020 we light the Bethlehem Candle. It celebrates the journey of Mary and Joseph, bearers of the Light, leading the census to the bridge of hope. The journey to Bethlehem began with Mary and Joseph.! The story is fully human, fully divine. It is the meeting place of angels and shepherds and in this reality all people find a home. Mary moved our thinking beyond How can this be? to I am God’s handmaiden.
Let us go over to Bethlehem