Excerpt from Today’s Reading:
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
David, celebrating what God has done for him, decides to build God a temple—a grand building, something befitting God’s dignity and majesty. Something at least as nice as the house David has built for himself.
He runs the idea past God’s chosen representative; it’s celebrated and encouraged.
Then God turns up—and says no.
No, don’t build me a house.
Set aside your carefully-considered plans.
Set aside what you think I want, and instead, receive the house I’ll build for you.
Mary prepares for married life with her betrothed—a good life, a life of quiet virtue, a life that follows an order recognizable to the people of Nazareth.
Then God turns up—and says, Don’t be afraid.
I’m here with you,
and I’m asking you to conceive and grow and birth and feed and raise
a son who will be the Son of God.
No, not the son of your betrothed.
No, not conceived according to the normal order of things.
LGBTQ people know what it is to make plans for our lives, only to have truth show up and throw the whole thing off.
We know what it is to propose to God that we build a house (a life, a self)
that our Church would welcome and celebrate.
We know what it is to have religious authorities sign off on that plan.
And we know what it is to have God show up and say no,
in order to gift us a greater Yes.
“No, don’t build me a house: receive the house I’ll build for you.”
“No, don’t be afraid—you’ve found favor with God—
and your reward is this strange pregnancy.”
“No, don’t shove yourself into that lie.
Your life, your love, your gender—
it’s going to be one that the Church will tell you is misshapen.
But it’s going to be one that brings freedom,
that lets you love honestly and truly,
that invites you into community and grace you would not otherwise have known.
So many of us go through seasons of wanting to return our created selves to God for an exchange:
Look, God, this lesbian thing is cute, but if you want me to be Catholic, how about I build you a nice cishetero house instead?
But in this season of Mary’s wild pregnancy (disordered before the people of Nazareth!)
let us lean instead into her Yes.
God has offered us the gift of who we are.
May it be done to us according to God’s word.